Defining Anxiety Disorders

Edited by Dwight L. Evans, Edna B. Foa, Raquel E. Gur, Herbert Hendin, Charles P. O'Brien, Martin E.P. Seligman and B. Timothy Walsh

in Treating and Preventing Adolescent Mental Health Disorders

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print June 2005 | ISBN: 9780195173642
Published online August 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199951024 | DOI:

Series: Adolescent Mental Health Initiative

 Defining Anxiety Disorders

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  • Psychiatry
  • Child and Adolescent Psychiatry


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The research of the past few decades has expanded our understanding of the phenomena linked to the concepts of anxiety and anxiety disorder. A comparison of contemporary reports with those of the last half century provides reason for optimism, for we have learned several important facts. First, the state we call anxiety in humans is not unitary in origin or consequence and can be the result of living with realistic threat, past history, conditioning, or a temperamental bias for unexpected somatic sensations that are interpreted as meaning one is anxious. Second, epidemiological and genetic data imply distinct biological profiles for the varied anxiety disorders, many of which implicate neurochemical processes. Finally, clinicians and investigators now have an initial set of cognitive and biological procedures that promise to aid differential diagnosis of individuals who report anxiety. Major advances will occur when investigators and clinicians add these procedures to their interview data. The results of this work will permit the parsing of individuals who have a particular diagnosis into subgroups with more homogeneous biological and psychological features. This knowledge should lead to a more fruitful set of psychiatric classifications.

Chapter.  12148 words. 

Subjects: Psychiatry ; Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

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