What are Anxiety Disorders?
- Psychological disorders that include these features: motor tension, hyperactivity, and apprehensive expectations and thoughts (Santrock, 2003)
- An unrealistic, irrational fear or anxiety of disabling intensity. DSM-IV-TR recognizes seven types of anxiety disorders: phobic disorders (specific or social), panic disorder (with or without agoraphobia), generalized anxiety disorder (Butcher, Mineka & Hooley, 2004)
Culture-Specific Anxiety Disorders
Some anxiety disorders are culture-specific, such as koro and taijin kyofusho. These anxiety disorders are only present in Asian countries, particularly in Japan. Koro involves fear of a shrinking body part; while taijin kyofusho involves extreme concern that one's gaze, facial expression, or body odor offends other people.
Introduction to Anxiety Disorders
The main criteria for diagnosing anxiety disorders is fear; but unlike the normal fear that most people experience, fear in anxiety disorders are unrealistic, irrational, and disabling.
According to the revised fourth edition of the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR), there are five types of anxiety disorders. These are phobic disorders (or simply phobia), panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Phobic disorders are further categorized into two: specific and social. This further categorization stems from the nature of the source of fear. Specific phobias center around specific objects (e.g., fear of snake), while social phobias center around specific situations (e.g., fear of birthday parties). Panic disorder is also further classified into two: with and without agoraphobia. Agoraphobia used to be classified under phobic disorders in the early editions of the DSM; however, recent research uncovers its uncanny relation to panic disorder. Agoraphobia is fear of open and/or closed spaces (e.g., elevator, golf course). People with agoraphobia get panic attacks whenever they find themselves in a place where they feel unsafe, as if there's no where to run.
According to the National Comorbidity Survey, 23 million Americans suffer from any type of anxiety disorders every year. Anxiety disorders, as a whole, are the most common disorder in women, and the second most common in men. 30 percent of women have anxiety disorders at some point in their lives. Annually, 23 percent of women and 12 to 19 percent of men are diagnosed with anxiety disorders.
Anxiety disorders are not just common; they are also very disabling and costly. Government documents show that medical cost for anxiety disorders alone reached as high as 42.3 billion dollars in 1990, 90 percent of which is the direct cost of this. This high amount also covered 30 percent of the National Mental Health Bill of the same year.
Perhaps the most scary feature of anxiety disorders is its high internal comorbidity. That means, that patients tend to circle around the types of anxiety disorders. For example, it is quite rare that a person with phobic disorder will not be diagnosed soon enough with panic disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. But the story about anxiety disorders does not end there. Anxiety disorders are also notorious in moderately teaming up with another equally costly mental health problem, that is, mood disorders. For example, a person with obsessive-compulsive disorder may also be diagnosed at some point of major depressive disorder.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Why is acute stress disorder considered an anxiety disorder?
- At what age do they occur, and what is their course?
- Does agoraphobia belong in this category of mental disorders?
- What do analogue studies reveal about them?
- Are antidepressants effective in treating them?
- What are the different anxiety disorders?
- What are the seven types? What are the features?
- When did they form part of the DSM?
- Do they occur also in children?
- How about in adolescence?
- Do they comorbid with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?
- How often do they occur annually?
- What do biochemical theories say about them?
- What does the biopsychosocial perspective say about them?
- What causes anxiety disorders in childhood and adolescence?
- How common are they in childhood?
- Is cognitive-behavioral therapy effective in treating them?
- Are there any cultural issues?
- Do some occur specific in a certain culture, that is, exclusively?
- What is the definition?
- What is the demographics?
- Can you describe how the disorders chart about anxiety disorders look?
- What are the criteria outlined by the DSM-IV-TR?
- Do they differ across genders?
- What is the general description?
- What is generalized anxiety disorder all about?
- Is impulse control disorder considered an anxiety disorder?
- How do nature and nurture explain anxiety disorders?
- What is the nature of anxiety disorders?
- What is obsessive-compulsive disorder all about?
- What is the nature of panic attacks in anxiety disorders?
- What is panic disorder all about?
- What are phobias all about?
- Why is posttraumatic stress disorder considered an anxiety disorder?
- What is post-traumatic stress disorder all about?
- How common are they?
- How prevalent are they?
- Why is social phobia considered an anxiety disorder?
- What are the sociocultural causal factors?
- What are specific phobias all about?
- What are the symptoms and criteria for diagnosis?
- What is the treatment?
- What are the treatments and corresponding outcomes of childhood and adolescent anxiety disorders?
- What are the different types of anxiety disorders?