Anxiety Disorder


Anxiety Disorder: American Description

Includes Overanxious Disorder of Childhood



Diagnostic Criteria

  1. Excessive anxiety and worry (apprehensive expectation), occurring more days than not for at least 6 months, about a number of events or activities (such as work or school performance).
  2. The person finds it difficult to control the worry.
  3. The anxiety and worry are associated with three (or more) of the following six symptoms (with at least some symptoms present for more days than not for the past 6 months).
    Note: Only one item is required in children.
    1. restlessness or feeling keyed up or on edge
    2. being easily fatigued
    3. difficulty concentrating or mind going blank
    4. irritability
    5. muscle tension
    6. sleep disturbance (difficulty falling or staying asleep, or restless unsatisfying sleep)
  4. The focus of the anxiety and worry is not confined to features of an Axis I disorder, e.g., the anxiety or worry is not about having a Panic Attack (as in Panic Disorder), being embarrassed in public (as in Social Phobia), being contaminated (as in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder), being away from home or close relatives (as in Separation Anxiety Disorder), gaining weight (as in Anorexia Nervosa), having multiple physical complaints (as in Somatization Disorder), or having a serious illness (as in Hypochondriasis), and the anxiety and worry do not occur exclusively during Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.
  5. The anxiety, worry, or physical symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
  6. The disturbance is not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication) or a general medical condition (e.g., hyperthyroidism) and does not occur exclusively during a Mood Disorder, a Psychotic Disorder, or a Pervasive Developmental Disorder.


Associated Features

  1. Depressed Mood
  2. Somatic/Sexual Dysfunction
  3. Anxious/Fearful/Dependent Personality


Differential Diagnosis


Anxiety Disorder Due to a General Medical Condition; Substance-Induced Anxiety Disorder; Panic Disorder; Social Phobia; Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder; Anorexia Nervosa; Hypochondriasis; Somatization Disorder; Separation Anxiety Disorder; obsessional thoughts; Posttraumatic Stress Disorder; Adjustment Disorder; Mood Disorders; Psychotic Disorders; nonpathological anxiety.



Additional information on Generalized Anxiety Disorder...