There are a number of different types of anxiety and there can sometimes be an overlap between each of them. Anxiety can often be a condition on its own, or be brought on as a result of a separate issue. As with other conditions, there can be different severities of anxiety; the most serious requiring urgent medical attention. Severe anxiety can affect:

  • Your ability to work or hold down employment.
  • Travel, or leave the house.
  • Your energy, sleep or concentration.

General Anxiety

Anxiety is a feeling of unease, such as worry or fear, that can be mild or severe. Some people find it hard to control their worries. Their feelings of anxiety are more constant and can often affect their daily lives.

Anxiety is the main symptom of several conditions, including:

  • Panic disorder
  • Phobias, such as agoraphobia or claustrophobia
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Social anxiety disorder (Social Phobia)

Social Anxiety 

Social anxiety disorder, also called social phobia, is a long-term and overwhelming fear of social situations. It's a common problem that usually starts during the teenage years. It can be very distressing and have a big impact on your life.

  • Worry about everyday activities, such as meeting strangers, starting conversations, speaking on the phone, working or shopping
  • Avoid or worry a lot about social activities, such as group conversations, eating with company and parties
  • Always worry about doing something you think is embarrassing, such as blushing, sweating or appearing incompetent
  • Find it difficult to do things when others are watching – you may feel like you're being watched and judged all the time
  • Fear being criticised, avoid eye contact or have low self-esteem
  • Often have symptoms like feeling sick, sweating, trembling or a pounding heartbeat (palpitations)
  • Have panic attacks, where you have an overwhelming sense of fear and anxiety, usually only for a few minutes

Health Anxiety

Health anxiety (sometimes called hypochondria) is when you spend so much time worrying you're ill, or about getting ill, that it starts to take over your life.

Some symptoms of Health Anxiety:

  • Constantly worry about your health
  • Frequently check your body for signs of illness, such as lumps, tingling or pain
  • Are always asking people for reassurance that you're not ill
  • Worry that a doctor or medical tests may have missed something
  • Obsessively look at health information on the internet or in the media
  • Avoid anything to do with serious illness, such as medical TV programmes
  • Act as if you were ill (for example, avoiding physical activities)



Anxiety can cause symptoms like headaches or a racing heartbeat; these may be mistaken for signs of illness. Some other common symptoms of anxiety are:

  • Feeling restless or worried
  • Having trouble concentrating or sleeping
  • Dizziness or heart palpitations



Some possible treatments of General Anxiety include:

  • Counselling such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
  • Applied Relaxation techniques
  • Medications such as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), Serotonin and noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), Pregabalin or Benzodiazepines

Treatments for Social Anxiety may include:

  • CBT
  • Peer support groups

Treatments for Health Anxiety:

  • CBT
  • Keep a diary to challenge your thoughts with
  • Keep busy with other activities


You can read more about the different types of Anxiety on the NHS' website by clicking the button(s) below: