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Anxiety Disorder: Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment 


Anxiety disorder: Symptoms and diagnosis 

anxiety disorderAnxiety disorders usually have their origins in the normal experience of anxiety.  Anxiety can arise suddenly, as in panic or may develop gradually over a much longer period of time.  The feeling of anxiety may range in intensity from barely noticeable to a full-blown panic attack, during which a person may experience shortness of breath, dizziness, and increased heart rate. 

Anxiety disorders may be so distressing and so disturbing of oneís lifestyle that they may lead to other psychological symptoms such as depression.  Sometimes, however, depression may develop first to be followed at a later point in time by anxiety or an anxiety disorder. 

The diagnosis of an anxiety disorder is based upon the symptoms involved. Because different individuals can experience anxiety to a greater or lesser degree without any difficulty, anxiety disorders frequently may be relatively difficult to diagnose.  Only abnormal anxiety resulting in interference in oneís life will result in an anxiety disorder.  Most clinicians will do a family history of an anxiety disorder (except post-traumatic stress disorder) in order to make a diagnosis of an anxiety disorder. 


Anxiety disorder treatment 

An accurate diagnosis of an anxiety disorder is absolutely imperative in order to provide the proper treatment as different anxiety disorders receive different forms of treatment.  Also, anxiety disorders must be distinguished from anxiety that occurs in many other mental health disorders, for which different treatment approaches are also used.  Depending upon the diagnosed anxiety disorder, psychotherapy or medications may be used either alone or in combination.  Both of these treatments have been found to significantly relieve the distress and dysfunction that most people experience as a result of their anxiety disorders.

 Some information from the Merck Manual of Medical Information 

Additional Information and webpage by Paul Susic  MA Licensed Psychologist   Ph.D. Candidate  (Health and Geriatric Psychologist)

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