Different Types of Anxiety

Before I list the different classifications of anxiety according to the, the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), let me warn you about the hidden dangers of diagnosis.

Unfortunately, once a psychiatrist or a psychologist has formed a diagnosis, it can be extremely difficult to get it reviewed or changed. Many researchers have voiced their concern over the excesses of medical diagnosis in psychiatry. Just as an example, it is good to know that In 1973, the American Psychiatric Association, “undiagnosed” homosexuality as a mental disorder. Suddenly thousands of homosexual people were “cured”. On the other hand, over the past 10 years diagnosis of autism are up by a whopping 78%.

I prefer to avoid the labels that are so typical of psychiatric classification of fear, phobia, anxiety and panic attacks. Often diagnostic labeling leads to self fulfilling prophecy. Paul Watzlawick explains the consequences of a self-fulfilling prophecy in diagnostic labeling:

“Suffice it to say that an essential part of the self-fulfilling effect of psychiatric diagnoses is based on our unshakable conviction that everything that has a name must therefore actually exist. The materializations and actualizations of psychiatric diagnosis probably originate largely from this conviction.”

DSM-IV defines 12 types of anxiety disorders. They can be grouped under four headings of “anxiety disorders”: