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General Anxiety Disorder

General Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is a psychiatric condition best characterized by worries that are excessive and interfere with normal social functioning. The worry is intense and pervasive, lasts a long time, and frequently occurs for no reason. People suffering from GAD are likely to perceive everyday life as unmanageable. For adults to be diagnosed with GAD, they will exhibit at least three of the six primary symptoms.

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General Anxiety Disorder is primarily diagnosed by the following symptoms:

  • Excessive worry, occurring over an extended period of time, over a number of events or activities
  • Inability to control constant worrying
  • The anxiety or worry is associated with restlessness, fatigue, lack of concentration, irritability, muscle tension, and sleeping problems
  • Impairment of social or work-related functioning
  • The anxiety is not attributable to a substance or other medical condition
  • Not better explained by another mental health issue

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Social Anxiety

Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) is marked by an intense anxiety or fear concerning social situations in which the person may be subject to negative scrutiny or criticism by others. The person may fear they will appear or act inappropriately. The anxiety will be exhibited in almost all social situations, not just occasionally. And for children, it must be present in peer settings, not with adults.

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There are numerous symptoms associated with Social Anxiety Disorder including:

  • Avoidance of social situations or endured with great anxiety
  • The anxiety is exaggerated and disproportionate to the actual social situation threat
  • The fear or avoidance is constant and usually lasts for a minimum of six months
  • The anxiety impairs functioning in social or work contexts
  • The anxiety is not a result of a substance or other medical condition
  • The anxiety is not better diagnosed as another mental disorder

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Panic Disorder

People who suffer from Panic Disorder experience recurring sudden and intense fear that peaks within a matter of minutes. A panic attack may be expected or be unexpected with no discernible trigger at the time. The intensity and frequency of panic attacks can have a wide range. In addition to having at four of the 13 defined symptoms, panic disorder requires that a panic attack be followed by a minimum of one month of worry about additional attacks and/or behavior is changed to avoid a pan...

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The are 13 clinically-accepted criteria for diagnosing Panic Disorder. Among them are:

  • Increase heart rate or heart pounding
  • Fear of Dying
  • Sweating
  • Shaking or trembling
  • Chest pain
  • Stomach distress or nausea
  • Choking
  • Shortness of breath or sensation of smothering

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Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive-compulsive disorders (OCD) covers a related range of specific beliefs and behaviors. Obsessions are involuntary and unwanted intrusive thoughts that recur and persist and that an individual attempts to neutralize by performing a compulsion. Compulsions are thoughts or behaviors that are rigidly repeated; they are either excessive or not necessarily connected to the obsession. Examples include behaviors like showering for hours every day or arranging objects in a very specific or...

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  • Presence of an unwanted thought or image that the individual attempts to counter by another thought or action (compulsion)
  • The obsessions or compulsions are time consuming and impair normal functioning in daily life
  • The situation is not a result of a substance or other medical condition
  • Individuals have a range of insight as to whether their OCD beliefs are valid or not
  • The individual may have a history of a tic-related disorder

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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is one of several trauma-related disorders resulting from exposure to a traumatic or stressful event. These are experiences that are deeply distressing and disturbing and negatively impact individuals. PTSD can be military or non-military in nature and presents itself in a wide variety of ways ranging from emotional and behavioral symptoms to dissociative symptoms. Children under six years of age have separate diagnostic criteria.

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  • Exposure to death, serious injury, or sexual violence
  • Intrusion symptoms associated with and following the event (memories, dreams, flashbacks, and marked reactions or distress from cues symbolizing the event)
  • Avoidance of cues associated with the event and beginning after the event
  • Changes in mood or cognition associated with and after the event
  • Beginning or declining reactivity after the event (irritability, reckless behavior, hypervigilance, problems sleeping…)
  • Symptoms persist for more than one month
  • Symptoms cause clinically significant distress and impair daily functioning

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Separation Anxiety

Separation Anxiety Disorder manifests itself by age-related inappropriate and intense anxiety or fear relating to being separated from a person to whom the subject is attached. For a true diagnosis, this will last for a minimum (for adults) of six months and include at least three specific symptoms. The situation will also result in impairment of everyday living and functioning at home, school or work.

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There are eight specific characteristics that can lead to a diagnosis of Separation Anxiety Disorder. They are:

  • Recurrent anxiety when faced with separation from an attachment figure
  • Persistent worry about losing an attachment figure or harm coming to that figure
  • Worry about an possible event that could cause separation from an attachment figure
  • Refusal or reluctance to go out or away from fear of separation
  • Excessive anxiety about being alone or without the attachment figure
  • Refusal or reluctance to sleep away from or without the attachment figure
  • Regular nightmares about separation
  • Physical symptoms when separation occurs or is anticipated

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Phobias

Phobias are fears or anxiety relating to a specific situation or object. Some well known examples include fear of spiders, heights, needles, enclosed places like airplanes or elevators, loud sounds, and clowns. The reaction is intense and severe and totally out of proportion to the real situation and the person will take means to avoid the object or situation, which can impact normal daily functioning.

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  • The object or situation provokes immediate fear or anxiety
  • The object or situation is actively avoided or endured with extreme fear and anxiety
  • The fear is disproportionate to the danger perceived
  • The fear or avoidance is recurs and last for at least six months
  • The anxiety or avoidance negative impacts the person’s ability to function normal in daily life

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About Anxiety.org

Our Worldwide Mission For Anxiety

  • Devoted exclusively to anxiety disorders
  • Current and relevant information
  • Curated from the top 1% of experts
  • Research and evidence-based
  • Open access to everyone

The dedicated team at Anxiety.org is committed to making mental health information accessible, inclusive, easy-to-find, and easy-to-understand. We want anyone suffering from an anxiety disorder to have access to all the resources they need to understand and overcome their condition. This website provides the latest and most relevant information by working directly with distinguished doctors, therapists, scientists, and specialists to keep you on the cutting-edge of research and advancements in the field, while keeping our content approachable for the average reader. Our goal is to bridge the understanding gap that exists between mental health professionals and those actually dealing with anxiety disorders.

Hundreds of millions of people worldwide have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder or related mood or mental health issue. In fact, some studies have estimated the number to be over 1 billion! And the majority of those diagnosed or struggling with an anxiety disorder don't receive treatment or have access to the information, treatment, or tools they need during their journey to recovery. Anxiety.org is there to provide support to people no matter what their environment or economic status.

It is not surprising that there are over four million monthly Internet searches worldwide on anxiety-related terms. Some of these searches come from undiagnosed individuals seeking basic knowledge about what they are experiencing; others come from diagnosed persons looking for specific information and guidance; and still others come from individuals seeking understanding and advice regarding a family member, loved one, or close friend who is dealing with anxiety. For people with these conditions, the isolating nature and stigma associated with anxiety disorders has been a significant obstacle to seeking professional treatment. Anxiety.org allows anxiety sufferers the ability to seek help anonymously and conveniently.

We have partnered with hundreds of schools, institutions, researchers and clinicians, experienced therapists, and other mental health and wellness experts. All the donations received, as well as 100% of Anxiety.org revenue in 2016, will be used to fund grants to universities, clinics, and research institutions. If you are interested, please email our publisher at Research@Anxiety.org.

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Alexander Bystritsky, M.D., Ph.D.

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Michelle G. Craske, Ph.D.

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Michael Cameron, Ph.D.

Anxiety.org Advisory Board Member

Murray B. Stein, M.D., M.P.H., F.R.C.P.C

Anxiety.org Advisory Board Member


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