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Cognitive behaviour therapy is the recommended treatment for most anxiety disorders. You can think of anxiety as existing in two basic forms. The first form is characterised by panic attacks, often with sudden onset and causing considerable stress and embarassment to the sufferer who may not understand what is happening to them. All they know is that the feelings are so horrible that they will do anything to stop the attacks. It is not unusual in these cases for the attacks to come apparently for no discernable reason, and because of this unpredictable onset, together with the embarassing nature of the attacks, the sufferer is often wary of straying into crowded places or even going outdoors.

In the second form of anxiety there may still be panic attacks, but the panics are clearly linked to particular objects and situations. The sufferer therefore takes great pains to avoid such triggers and is continually alert for their impending signs. Typical triggers are performance challenges such as exams or public exposure of any kind, sometimes it is having to socialise with other people, sometimes it is heights, insects etc etc. All phobias fall into this category.

In the third form of anxiety actual panic is less common, but the sufferer is continually concerned about things that might happen in the future, but have not yet occurred. This is what most of us call "worry".