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Anxiety: Brief diagnostic criteria

Table 4.1 Brief diagnostic  criteria for anxiety disorders



main symptoms

Panic disorder with or without agoraphobia (PDAG)

Sudden, severe repeated attacks of anxiety some of which are "out of the blue." Fear of physical symptoms. May be avoidance of feared situations.

Agoraphobia without panic

Avoidance of feared situations (e.g., enclosed spaces, crowds, being away from home) without a history of panic attacks.

Specific phobia (SP)

Fear and avoidance of specific objects/places (e.g., snakes, dogs, sight of blood, heights, storms, tunnels, flying).

Social anxiety disorder


Fear and avoidance of public performance or situa- tions of being judged. May be limited or generalized to almost all social interactions.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

Unwanted, uncontrollable, repetitive thoughts (obses- sions) and repetitive neutralizing actions (compulsions).

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Re-experiencing of a severe traumatic  event through dreams, flashbacks and intense emotion with increased arousal and avoidance of reminders of the trauma.

Acute stress disorder


Symptoms similar to PTSD occurring immediately after an extremely traumatic event.

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)

Persistent, uncontrollable worry lasting at least six months.

Anxiety disorder due to general medical condition

Symptoms of anxiety that are a direct physiological consequence of a general medical condition.

Substance-induced anxiety disorder

Symptoms of anxiety that are a direct physiological consequence of a drug of abuse, a medication or toxin exposure.

Anxiety disorder not otherwise specified

Anxiety symptoms not meeting the criteria for any of the specific disorders above.