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Anxiety Disorders and Related Problems

Acute Stress Disorder

Acute Stress Disorder (ASD) is characterized by distressing dissociative symptoms that develop within one month after a severe traumatic event or experience. Symptoms include anxiety, irritability, depression, diminished ability to experience pleasure, and/or sleep problems. ASD sometimes involves feelings such as not knowing where one is, or feeling as if one is outside of his/her body. ASD is often associated with re-experiencing the event in dreams, nightmares, and memories, as well as avoidance of any reminders of the trauma.


Agoraphobia is characterized by repeated panic attacks of intense fear and anxiety, and a fear of being in places where escape might be difficult, or where help might not be available. Agoraphobia usually involves fear of crowds, bridges, or of being outside alone.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Generalized Anxiety Disorder is characterized by excessive anxiety and worry that is present more days than not for at least six months. The anxiety and worry are associated with restlessness, being easily fatigued, difficulty concentrating, irritability, muscle tension, and sleep disturbance. The anxiety causes clinically significant distress or impairment.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is characterized by recurrent obsessions or compulsions that are severe enough to be time consuming or cause marked distress or significant impairment. At some point during the course of the disorder, the person, or a parent, has recognized that the obsessions or compulsions are excessive or unreasonable. Obsessions are persistent ideas, thoughts, impulses or images that are experienced as intrusive and inappropriate and that cause marked anxiety or distress. Compulsions are repetitive behaviors such as hand-washing, ordering, checking, or mental acts (e.g., praying, counting, repeating words silently), the goal of which is to prevent or reduce anxiety or distress, not to provide pleasure or gratification.

Panic Disorder

Panic Disorder is characterized by sudden and repeated attacks of fear (known as panic attacks) that last for several minutes or sometimes longer. These attacks are associated with a fear of disaster or of losing control even when no real danger exists. In addition, panic attacks are frequently associated with a strong physical reaction, such as the feeling one is having a heart attack. Panic attacks often cannot be predicted, and therefore many people with panic disorder worry about the possibility of having another attack.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a psychological disorder that usually develops as a result of experiencing or witnessing traumatic events. PTSD is characterized by repeatedly re-living the traumatic event through thoughts and memories (including flashbacks, hallucinations, and/or nightmares), and avoiding people, places, or situations that remind him/her of the trauma. Other symptoms include irritability, anxiety, fatigue, forgetfulness, hyperarousal, and social withdrawal. Symptoms of PTSD persist longer than 30 days. These persisting symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment.

School Refusal

School Refusal is characterized by repeated refusal to attend school on a regular basis, and/or severe distress associated with school attendance. Complaints of physical symptoms shortly before it is time to leave for school and/or repeated requests to visit the school nurse are common. Additional symptoms may include refusal to leave one's house, tantrums, inflexibility, separation anxiety, and defiance.

Selective Mutism

Selective Mutism is characterized by inability to speak in one or more social settings (e.g., at school, in public places, with adults) despite being able to speak comfortably in other settings (e.g., at home with family). Individuals with selective mutism understand language use and, although they have the physical and cognitive ability to speak, they demonstrate a persistent inability to speak in particular settings over a period of time due to anxiety. Symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment in daily functioning.

Separation Anxiety Disorder

Separation Anxiety Disorder is characterized by excessive anxiety concerning separation from the home, or from those to whom the person is attached, that is beyond what is expected for the individual's developmental level. Physical complaints, such as stomachaches, headaches, nausea, and vomiting are common when separation occurs or is anticipated. This anxiety starts before the age of 18, lasts for at least four weeks, and causes clinically significant distress or impairment.

Social Phobia (Social Anxiety Disorder)

Social Phobia is characterized by a marked and persistent fear of social or performance situations in which embarrassment may occur. Exposure to the social or performance situation usually provokes an immediate anxiety response, which most adults and adolescence recognize is excessive or unreasonable. Most of these situations are avoided or endured with dread. These symptoms must be present for 6 months and interfere with individual's daily routine, occupational functioning, or social life.

Specific Phobias

Specific Phobia is characterized by a marked, persistent, and excessive fear of specific objects or situations, exposure to which almost always provokes an immediate anxiety response. The situation is often avoided or endured with dread, and the avoidance, fear, or anticipation of the phobic stimulus causes impairment or distress.


Trichotillomania is characterized by an irresistible urge to pull out hair from one's scalp, eyebrows or other areas of the body. Symptoms include noticeable hair loss, distress, and social or functional impairment.

Depressive Disorders and Related Problems

Dysthymic Disorder

Dysthymic Disorder is characterized by long-term (1 or more years in children and 2 or more years in adults) symptoms that may not be severe enough to disable a person, but can prevent normal functioning or feeling well. Common characteristics include poor appetite or overeating, sleep problems, fatigue, low self-esteem, poor concentration, difficulty making decisions, feelings of hopelessness, and irritability in children.

Major Depressive Disorder

Major Depressive Disorder is characterized depressed mood and/or loss of interest or pleasure for a period of at least 2 weeks that interferes with ability to work, sleep, study, eat, and enjoy once-pleasurable activities. Common characteristics include negative thoughts about self, the world, and the future, low energy or psychomotor agitation, hopelessness, withdrawal from others, disengagement, crying, significant weight changes beyond normal growth, changed sleep patterns, fatigue or loss of energy, feelings of worthlessness, difficulty concentrating, and recurrent thoughts of death or suicidal thoughts or actions. Symptoms cause clinically significant distress and impairment in day-to-day functioning.

Minor Depressive Disorder

Minor Depressive Disorder is characterized by depressed mood and/or loss of interest or pleasure. Symptoms are present for at least 2 weeks and do not meet full criteria for major depressive disorder. Without treatment, individuals with minor depressive disorder are at high risk for developing major depressive disorder.

Disruptive Behavior Disorders and Related Problems

ADHD (Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder)

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is characterized by a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity that is more frequently displayed and more severe than is typically observed in same-age peers. This inattention and/or hyperactivity is usually observable prior to age seven and causes impairment in at least two settings.

  • For example, the child may often fail to give close attention or make careless mistakes in schoolwork or other activities, often lose things necessary for tasks and activities, often fidget with hands or feet or squirm in seat, be often "on the go" or feel "driven by a motor," often blurt out answers to questions, often have difficulty waiting his/her turn, and often interrupt or intrudes on others.

Conduct Disorder

Conduct Disorder (CD) is a repetitive and persistent pattern of behavior in which the basic rights of others or major age-appropriate societal norms or rules are violated. Behaviors (which must be present in the past year and generally occur across settings) can include aggressive conduct toward people or animals, nonaggressive conduct that causes property damage or loss, deceitfulness or theft, or serious violations of rules.

Oppositional Defiant Disorder

Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) refers to a recurrent pattern of negativistic, defiant, disobedient, and hostile behavior towards authority figures that persists for at least 6 months and at a greater frequency than is typically observed in individuals of the same age or developmental level. These behaviors cause significant impairment in social, academic, or occupational functioning.