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Anxiety which can also refer to a syndrome is a mood response to an internal threat that could be the expectation of an external threat It is an emotional response that is out of proportion with any genuine threat found in the environment Furthermore instead of being directed towards a current stimulus anxiety is associated with the anticipation of a future problem Anxiety differs from fear in that fea r is a response to an immediate external genuine threat Physiologically the symptoms of anxiety accord to those for fear including nausea light-headedness shortness of breath and increased heart rate--the typical fight-or-flight response yet when there is no genuine danger in the environment these symptoms can be extremely aversive and stressful for the individual Although personal distress can lead to functional impairment the diagnostic criteria for the syndrome of anxiety disorders only requires that the individual experience grave personal distress There are several diagnostic categories for anxiety disorders panic disorder with or without agoraphobia agoraphobia with panic disorder obsessive-compulsive disorder OCD specific phobia social phobia posttraumatic stress disorder PTSD acute stress disorder ASD and generalized anxiety disorder Anxiety disorders with a prevalence rate of 17 percent represent the most common type of disorders Regarding this prevalence rate however it must be noted that only about 25 percent of individuals suffering from a possible anxiety disorder seek treatment Specific and social phobias are the most common types of anxiety disorders and generalized anxiety disorder and agoraphobia without panic disorder both have a prevalence rate of 3 percent OCD has a prevalence rate of 2 percent and panic disorder has a point prevalence rate of 2 percent Anxiety disorders are highly comorbid with each other and with mood disorders All types of anxiety disorders except OCD are more likely to be found among women than men and among the young than the elderly Cross-cultural differences seem to affect the focus or content of typical anxiety
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