The majority of the information provided on this website is with the permission of Bronwyn Fox from the Special Edition PADA Newsletter 1997.

What are the Anxiety Disorders?

There are five major Anxiety Disorders but it is not unusual for there to be an over lap between the disorders. A person can experience more than one disorder. Diagnosis and treatment is now aimed at the primary problem with follow up treatments addressing symptoms of the other disorders.

These disorders include:-

PANIC DISORDER which is the experience of spontaneous Panic Attacks. The intensity of the attack can be extremely severe and many people feel they are having a heart attack and/or are going to die, or are going insane. It is not unusual for people to become chronically anxious about having another attack.

POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER can develop following a major physical or mental trauma. This disorder is characterised by 'Flashbacks' and or 'Nightmares' during which the traumatic event is re-experienced.

GENERALISED ANXIETY DISORDER is persistence and excessive anxiety or more about events or activities which may or may not happen.

OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVE DISORDER is the experience of obsessive unwanted thoughts and/or compulsive behaviours that may include rituals and can markedly interfere with normal functioning.

SOCIAL PHOBIA is the experience of fear and/or anxiety in social situations in which people fear they may embarrass themselves in some way.

More about Panic Attacks

People can experience Panic Attacks with any of the disorders but there can be a difference in the type of attack that people experience. Three different types of panic attacks have now been recognised.


These occur in relation to specific feared situations or places. For example social situations for people with Social Phobia. Revisiting the scene or scenes reminiscent of the traumatic events in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or exposure to a particular anxiety producing situation in Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.


This type of attack is associated to Panic Disorder. This attack comes without any warning day or night irrespective of what the person is doing. The spontaneous attack is not related to and is not induced by any particular situation or place. Many people can be waken from sleep with this type of attack.


What is Anxiety (next page)


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