Anxiety is an umbrella term characterized by feelings of worry and fear. There are several different types of anxiety, all of which have unique characteristics.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
Generalized anxiety disorder, often abbreviated as GAD, is a near-continuous sense of dread with no specific focus. That means that the disorder cycles from one topic to another. Individuals with GAD frequently fixate on one worry before moving on to the next, without any apparent connection between the two.
Those with GAD may attempt to dismiss their fixations as "normal worries." However, the power and persuasiveness of these fixations can impact how they function at work and home. It's important to note that with generalized anxiety disorder, obsessions have little or no basis in reality.
Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD)
Unlike GAD, which can be triggered by anything, social anxiety disorder (SAD) is an unreasonable fear of interacting in social settings. Interactions that can trigger SAD can be as simple as a one-on-one conversation or as large-scale as speaking in front of an audience. Individuals with SAD are frequently wary of participating in social activities, such as going to concerts or clubs.
People with SAD may avoid interactions within the public. However, social anxiety is not to be confused with agoraphobia, a type of disorder classified by the fear and avoidance of places or situations which can make you feel trapped or embarrassed. Instead, SAD may go hand-in-hand with agoraphobia as a co-occurring condition.