Psychology Study Material: Major Categories of Disorders in DSM-IV-TR: Anxiety Disorders

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Major Categories of Disorders in DSM-IV-TR

Anxiety Disorders

Panic Disorder

Disorder in which anxiety is manifested in the form of panic attacks lasting from a few seconds to many hours.

Panic Disorder

Panic attacks are unpredictable; resulting from vague anxiety and that may accompany physiological manifestations.

Symptoms include

  • Dizziness and/or fainting
  • Sweating
  • Trembling
  • Palpitation
  • Nausea
  • Choking
  • Fear of dying
  • Fear of being out of control
  • Skin blushing or flushing
  • Chest pain and discomfort
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Agitation
  • Facial paralysis etc.

Causes involve

  • Use of drugs and stimulants.
  • As a result of some incident or risk factor.
  • The exact cause of panic attacks is still not known; may result due to temporal dysfunction of the brain or may have been learnt through past experiences.
  • More frequent in women than men.
  • Prognosis: The disorder is difficult to treat and long- lasting as well, but behavioural therapies and use of drugs can minimize the symptoms.


Phobias are the particular, persistent, irrational and intense paralyzing fear of some objects and situations that they are unable to explain and overcome; and that may occur without any actual cause.

Symptoms include

  • Perspiration
  • Frustration,
  • Rapid heart beat
  • Headaches etc.

Causes of Phobias may include:

  • Result of some traumatic event or disaster
  • Hereditary component,
  • Prevalent equally in men and women,
  • Anxiety,
  • Panic attacks.

Treatment of Phobias Includes

  • Use of behaviour therapy especially behavioural- modification therapy.
  • Procedure of systematic desensitization is used.
  • Biofeedback is also helpful.

Obsessive- Compulsive Disorder

  • Obsession is an unwanted, recurrent and persistent thought that continuously recurs, and that can be intrusive and inappropriate
  • A compulsion is the uncontrollable urge to perform an apparently strange and unreasonable act repeatedly.

Symptoms include

  • Distress,
  • Frustration,
  • Anxiety etc

Causes include:

  • Risk factor,
  • Stereotype behaviours,
  • Brain abnormalities,
  • Unpleasant thoughts,
  • Some incident etc.

Prognosis: It is a chronic illness in which total removal of symptoms is not possible, but improvement through medication and therapy is possible.

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