Chapter 4: Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety is a natural part of life and, at normal levels, helps us to function at our best. However, for people with anxiety disorders, anxiety is overwhelming and hard to control. Anxiety disorders develop out of a blend of biological (genetic) and psychological factors that, when combined with stress, may lead to the development of ailments. Primary anxiety-related diagnoses include generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, specific phobia, social anxiety disorder (social phobia), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and obsessive-compulsive disorder. In this module, we summarize the main clinical features of each of these disorders and discuss their similarities and differences with everyday experiences of anxiety. We will also briefly discuss how the anxiety disorders are treated. Note that we will not focus on PTSD in this chapter, as we will be discussing it in more detail in a later module.