Anxiety Disorders

 

Description

Everyone experiences anxiety from time to time, and mild to moderate anxiety is beneficial on some occasions. As with depression and mania, there are important differences between normal and pathological anxiety, the latter of which should not go untreated. Although Anxiety Disorders have become more and more prevalent in recent years, most people who have anxiety disorders show up, not at the psychologist’s or psychiatrist’s office, but at their primary care physician’s office, requesting treatment for their physical symptoms. Or they engage in “self-treatment,” thus winding up in substance-abuse treatment centers and programs.

Diagnosis

 

Pathological anxiety comes in many varieties. Anxiety Disorders are a group of mental disorders included in Axis I of the DSM.  Included in this class are the following:

  • Panic Disorder 
  • Agoraphobia 
  • Specific Phobia
  • Social Phobia
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Acute Stress Disorder
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) - anxiety is diffuse, unfocused, free-floating, and ongoing
  • Anxiety Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (NOS)


In diagnosis, it is important that the clinician be able to distinguish between symptoms of anxiety disorders and those that mimic them, such as cardiopulmonary issues or hyperthyroidism.