Understanding the Different Types of Anxiety Disorders

by | Jun 9, 2023

Understanding the Different Types of Anxiety Disorders

Learning about mental health can help you gain insight into your own mental health, develop effective coping strategies, and seek appropriate support. At MellaHealth, we believe in the power of knowledge to demystify, destigmatize, and most importantly, provide a path towards recovery and wellness. Today, we’re delving into one of the most common mental health issues we address across our offices in Connecticut, including West Hartford — Anxiety Disorders.

Anxiety can take on many forms, each with its own characteristics and challenges. We will break down the different types of anxiety disorders for better understanding, and explore how therapies like Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) can offer solutions for improved quality of life.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is characterized by chronic and excessive worry about daily events and activities, beyond the the normal worries and concerns that most people experience. People with GAD may find that persistent worries interfere with daily functioning and can lead to physical symptoms like restlessness, fatigue, muscle aches, irritability, and sleep problems. The constant state of anxiety can cause distress, impairing different areas of life, including work, relationships, and overall well-being.

Through Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, we’ve seen many clients in Connecticut learn to manage their GAD symptoms effectively by identifying and challenging anxious thoughts and developing effective coping strategies. These more constructive thinking patterns replace unhelpful worry which can help manage anxiety, reduce the impact of worry, and improve overall quality of life.

Panic Disorder

Panic Disorder is characterized by recurrent and unexpected panic attacks, often without any apparent trigger or warning. A panic attack is a sudden and intense period of fear or anxiety that may include physical and physiological symptoms such as palpitations, sweating, shaking, shortness of breath, or feelings of impending doom. These attacks can be very frightening and can significantly impact a person’s quality of life. Individuals experiencing panic disorders may develop a fear of future panic attacks, contributing to anticipatory anxiety, constantly worrying about when the next attack will occur.

Our therapists in West Hartford and across Connecticut are highly trained in interventions to manage panic disorders, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). By working with a CBT therapist to identify and challenge negative thought patterns, it is possible to develop coping strategies to effectively manage panic attacks.

Social Anxiety Disorder

Social Anxiety Disorder involves intense fear and avoidance of social situations, especially those involving potential scrutiny or perceived judgement by others. This fear can lead to significant distress and impaired functioning. Individuals with social anxiety experience persistent fear of being humiliated, embarrassed, or negatively evaluated in social interactions. The anticipation of social activities may results in physical symptoms such as blushing, sweating, trembling, rapid heartbeat, nausea, or difficulty speaking.

At MellaHealth, we’ve seen firsthand how targeted therapy can help clients in Connecticut overcome social anxiety. By using cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), clients learn to identify and challenge negative thought patterns, develop more realistic beliefs about social situations, and gradually find empowerment to engage more confidently in social situations.

Specific Phobias

Specific phobias involve an intense and irrational fear of a specific object or situation. This fear is typically out of proportion to the actual threat posed, and people with specific phobias may go to great lengths to avoid what they fear. Specific phobias can vary, encompassing fears of animals, natural environments, medical procedures, or specific situations, objects, or scenarios. Anticipating the feared object or situation may trigger physical symptoms such as rapid heartbeat, trembling, sweating, difficulty breathing, and an overwhelming urge to escape or avoid the feared stimulus.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has been shown to be effective in treating specific phobias, helping to gradually expose individuals to the feared stimulus in a controlled manner, helping them build tolerance and reduce anxiety.

Separation Anxiety Disorder

Separation Anxiety Disorder is characterized by excessive fear or anxiety about separation from those to whom the individual is attached. Although it’s commonly associated with children, adults can also experience separation anxiety experiencing excessive worry about the safety, well-being, or the potential loss of their loved ones. For those experiencing separation anxiety disorder, fear of separation can lead to extreme efforts to avoid separation or being alone, which may cause significant disruption in daily functioning.

Working with a licensed therapist who specializes in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can help clients of all ages in Connecticut understand and manage separation anxiety, providing strategies to cope with and reduce anxiety symptoms.


Agoraphobia involves intense fear and avoidance of situations where escape might be difficult, or where help might not be available in the event of a panic attack. These situations can include being outside of the home alone, being in a crowd, or traveling in a car or bus. The fear may cause an individual to avoid these places and situation which can lead to feelings of isolation, dependency on others, and a decreased quality of life.

Our therapists at MellaHealth offer support and treatment for agoraphobia, providing tools and techniques to help clients gradually confront and reduce their fears.

A Beacon of Hope

It’s important to remember that anxiety disorders are treatable conditions. At MellaHealth, we’re dedicated to providing effective, compassionate care for anxiety disorders to our local Connecticut community.

We offer therapy services that are tailored to the unique needs of each client, with treatments grounded in evidence-based approaches like Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy. With the right support, clients can overcome anxiety and increase their quality of life.

Whether you’re seeking help for yourself or a loved one, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. You can visit our Contact Us page to get started with a complimentary consultation. We are here to help, and together, we can navigate the journey towards better mental health.

The more you know about our mental health, the better equipped we are to manage and improve it. With the right support, anyone can learn to manage their anxiety and live a fulfilling, balanced life. We at MellaHealth, serving Connecticut and West Hartford, are here to provide that support