chapter  14
28 Pages

Anxiety Disorders

The acute anxiety state is experienced as an overwhelming sense of fear and dread that generally incapacitates the individual for a period of time. It may also induce physiological responses. Often it is initiated in response to certain stimuli or circumstances, as in the case of phobias. Generalized anxiety is a more pervasive attitude of apprehension that keeps the individual in a constant state of vigilance. It is accompanied by signs of tension and autonomic arousal. Anxiety syndromes are common at all ages, especially in children and adolescents for whom fear of separation, social avoidance, and persistent worry are major components. Diagnosis of Anxiety Disorders is more difficult in children, however, since partial syndromes and overlapping of subtypes may occur in addi­ tion to common childhood fears. DSM-IV removed two Anxiety Disorders previously defined for use with pediatric subjects, leav­ ing Separation Anxiety Disorder as the only childhood Anxiety Disorder. Because of the frequent occurrence of Anxiety Disorders in children and adolescents, however, manifestations of other Anxi­ ety Disorders in these populations are discussed along with Separa­ tion Anxiety Disorder (see Table 14.1).