Anxiety: An emotional state characterized by physiological arousal, unpleasant feelings of tension, and a sense of apprehension or foreboding.
Anxiety Disorders: A class of psychological disorders characterized by excessive or maladaptive anxiety reactions.
Anxiety is characterized by a wide range of symptoms that cut across physical, behavioral, and cognitive domains:
- Physical features
- Behavioral features
- Cognitive features
Five types of anxiety disorders:
- Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
- Social anxiety disorder
- Panic disorders
- Obsessive-Compulsive Anxiety Disorder
- Separately: Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder
What distinguishes fear from anxiety?
- Fear is a state of immediate alarm in response to a serious, known threat to one’s well-being
- Anxiety is a state of alarm in response to a vague sense of being in danger
- Both have the same physiological features – increase in respiration, perspiration, muscle tension, etc.
“Anxious” Personality Disorders
The cluster of “anxious” personality disorders includes:
- Avoidant personality disorder
- Dependent personality disorder
- Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder
People with these disorders typically display anxious and fearful behavior
- Although many of the symptoms are similar to those of anxiety and depressive disorders, researchers have found no direct links between this cluster and those diagnoses
- As with most of the personality disorders, research is very limited
- But treatments for this cluster appear to be modestly to moderately helpful, considerably better than for other personality disorders
- In any given year, 18% of the adult population in the U.S. experiences one of the six DSM-IV-TR anxiety disorders
- Close to 29% develop one of the disorders at some point in their lives
- Only one-fifth of these individuals seek treatment
- Most individuals with one anxiety disorder also suffer from a second disorder
- In addition, many individuals with an anxiety disorder also experience depression
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