General Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is a psychiatric condition best characterized by worries that are excessive and interfere with normal social functioning. The worry is intense and pervasive, lasts a long time, and frequently occurs for no reason. People suffering from GAD are likely to perceive everyday life as unmanageable. For adults to be diagnosed with GAD, they will exhibit at least three of the six primary symptoms.
People who suffer from Panic Disorder experience recurring sudden and intense fear that peaks within a matter of minutes. A panic attack may be expected or be unexpected with no discernible trigger at the time. The intensity and frequency of panic attacks can have a wide range. In addition to having at four of the 13 defined symptoms, panic disorder requires that a panic attack be followed by a minimum of one month of worry about additional attacks and/or behavior is changed to avoid a panic attack.
Obsessive-compulsive disorders (OCD) covers a related range of specific beliefs and behaviors. Obsessions are involuntary and unwanted intrusive thoughts that recur and persist and that an individual attempts to neutralize by performing a compulsion. Compulsions are thoughts or behaviors that are rigidly repeated; they are either excessive or not necessarily connected to the obsession. Examples include behaviors like showering for hours every day or arranging objects in a very specific order.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is one of several trauma-related disorders resulting from exposure to a traumatic or stressful event. These are experiences that are deeply distressing and disturbing and negatively impact individuals. PTSD can be military or non-military in nature and presents itself in a wide variety of ways ranging from emotional and behavioral symptoms to dissociative symptoms. Children under six years of age have separate diagnostic criteria.
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Separation Anxiety Disorder manifests itself by age-related inappropriate and intense anxiety or fear relating to being separated from a person to whom the subject is attached. For a true diagnosis, this will last for a minimum (for adults) of six months and include at least three specific symptoms. The situation will also result in impairment of everyday living and functioning at home, school or work.
Phobias are fears or anxiety relating to a specific situation or object. Some well known examples include fear of spiders, heights, needles, enclosed places like airplanes or elevators, loud sounds, and clowns. The reaction is intense and severe and totally out of proportion to the real situation and the person will take means to avoid the object or situation, which can impact normal daily functioning.
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