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Anxiety Disorders

Ethnic And Cultural Variations, Biological Factors, Family Environment And Parenting Factors, Family-focused Interventions

Anxiety disorders include separation anxiety disorder, social phobia, specific phobia, generalized anxiety disorder, agoraphobia, panic disorder with and without agoraphobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, acute stress disorder, anxiety disorder due to a general medical condition, substance-induced anxiety disorder, and anxiety disorder not otherwise specified. Common features shared across anxiety disorders include (1) avoidance of feared objects, situations, or events, or enduring such objects, situations, events with severe distress; (2) maladaptive thoughts or cognitions, typically regarding harm or injury to oneself or loved one; and (3) physiological arousal or reactions (e.g., palpitations, sweating, irritability). According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) (American Psychiatric Association 1994), with the exception of the anxiety disorder specific to childhood, separation anxiety disorder, the same criteria are applied for diagnosing anxiety disorders in adults and children. For all anxiety disorders, symptoms must be present for a specific time period (at least four weeks for separation anxiety disorder; six months for all other anxiety disorders), be age inappropriate, and interfere with an individual's functioning.


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