chapter  4
Anxiety disorders
ByBen Green
Pages 12

Anxiety disorders are a group of disorders with neurotic symptoms such as anxiety, panic or fear. Anxiety disorders are relatively common and as such represent an important source of morbidity in the community. For the sufferers, anxiety disorders are often both long lasting and disabling. Generalised anxiety disorder is an illness with two components – psychological and somatic. In panic disorder the anxiety is felt in separate recurrent bouts –somatic symptoms of palpitations and dizziness may predominate and the sufferer may feel that they are about to die. Anxiety and tension are uncomfortable and the mind tries to keep such feelings at bay, sometimes by using defence mechanisms. A phobia is an excessive and irrational fear of some object or situation which is usually so disturbing to the individual that it leads them to avoid that object or situation. This chapter also discusses panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), dissociative disorders, somatisation, adjustment disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder.