Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders include disorders that share features of excessive fear and anxi­ety and related behavioral disturbances. Fear is the emotional response to real or per­ceived imminent threat, whereas anxiety is anticipation of future threat. Obviously, these two states overlap, but they also differ, with fear more often associated with surges of au­tonomic arousal necessary for fight or flight, thoughts of immediate danger, and escape behaviors, and anxiety more often associated with muscle tension and vigilance in prep­aration for future danger and cautious or avoidant behaviors. Sometimes the level of fear or anxiety is reduced by pervasive avoidance behaviors. Panic attacks feature prominently within the anxiety disorders as a particular type of fear response. Panic attacks are not lim­ited to anxiety disorders but rather can be seen in other mental disorders as well.

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