Anxiety and Obsessive-Compulsive Spectrum Disorders
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD): GAD is characterized by excessive and unrealistic worry. In adults, the anxiety may result from issues regarding health, finances, career, or relationships. Symptoms can include, but are not limited to muscular aches, insomnia, abdominal pain/discomfort, dizziness, trembling, and irritability.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD): In OCD, individuals are plagued by persistent, recurring thoughts (obsessions) that reflect exaggerated anxiety or fears. Typical obsessions can include worrying about being contaminated, fears of behaving improperly, or even fears of acting violently. These obsessions can lead an individual to perform rituals or routines (compulsions) such as washing hands repeatedly, or repeating phrases over and over to relieve the anxiety caused by the obsessive thoughts.
Panic Disorder: Panic disorder is characterized by severe attacks of panic in individuals that can make them feel like they are having a heart attack, or make them feel out of control for no apparent reason. Symptoms can include, but are not limited to heart palpitations, chest pain/discomfort, sweating, trembling, tingling sensations, a choking feeling, fear of dying, fear of losing control, and illusory feelings.
Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD): SAD is characterized by experiencing extreme anxiety for fear of being judged by others, or behaving in a way that might cause embarrassment and/or ridicule when in a social setting. Symptoms can include, but are not limited to heart palpitations, blushing, extreme sweating, and dizziness.
Separation Anxiety/School Refusal: Separation anxiety in children is characterized by feelings of excessive anxiety while away from their parent/caregiver, or while away from home. Common behaviors that can occur upon being separated include crying, clinging, panic, and worry. Reluctance or refusal to go to school and/or extracurricular activities is common due to the child’s fear of separation, and fear of harm to loved ones while they are apart.
Specific Phobias: People who suffer from specific phobias such as a fear of heights, elevators, spiders, etc. often experience a feeling of intense fear not only when they are in the presence of that specific place or object, but also in anticipation of being in the presence of that place or object. The level of fear a person experiences is usually inappropriate to the situation, and is even recognized by the sufferer as being irrational.
* These criteria are for descriptive and educational purposes only, and not meant to be used as a means of diagnosis. Source: Anxiety Disorders Association of America