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Table 8 Key features of specific anxiety and related disorders

From: Canadian clinical practice guidelines for the management of anxiety, posttraumatic stress and obsessive-compulsive disorders

Disorder Key features
Panic disorder • Recurrent unexpected panic attacks, in the absence of triggers
• Persistent concern about additional panic attacks and/or maladaptive change in behavior related to the attacks
Agoraphobia • Marked, unreasonable fear or anxiety about a situation
• Active avoidance of feared situation due to thoughts that escape might be difficult or help unavailable if panic-like symptoms occur
Specific phobia • Marked, unreasonable fear or anxiety about a specific object or situation, which is actively avoided (e.g., flying, heights, animals, receiving an injection, seeing blood)
Social anxiety disorder (SAD) • Marked, excessive or unrealistic fear or anxiety about social situations in which there is possible exposure to scrutiny by others
• Active avoidance of feared situation
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) • Excessive, difficult to control anxiety and worry (apprehensive expectation) about multiple events or activities (e.g., school/work difficulties)
• Accompanied by symptoms such as restlessness/feeling on edge or muscle tension
Obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) • Obsessions: recurrent and persistent thoughts, urges, or images that are experienced as intrusive and unwanted and that cause marked anxiety or distress
• Compulsions: repetitive behaviors (e.g., hand washing) or mental acts (e.g., counting) that the individual feels driven to perform to reduce the anxiety generated by the obsessions
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) • Exposure to actual or threatened death, serious injury, or sexual violation
• Intrusion symptoms (e.g., distressing memories or dreams, flashbacks, intense distress) and avoidance of stimuli associated with the event
• Negative alterations in cognitions and mood (e.g., negative beliefs and emotions, detachment), as well as marked alterations in arousal and reactivity (e.g., irritable behavior, hypervigilance)
  1. Adapted from reference [26].