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Distress, Adjustment, and Anxiety Disorders 

Distress, Adjustment, and Anxiety Disorders
Distress, Adjustment, and Anxiety Disorders

Daniel McFarland

and Jimmie C. Holland

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date: 12 July 2020

This chapter deals with anxiety in cancer patients as it presents in distress, adjustment disorders, and formal anxiety disorders. The implementation of distress screening is now used to capture patients who are at risk of a range of psychological complications that are addressed in this book. “Distress” covers the range of responses from the “normal” distress of fear, worry, and anxiety to formal defined psychiatric disorders. Adjustment disorders are the mildest level of psychiatric disorder occurring in relation to the stressor of a diagnosis with cancer or its treatment. Formal anxiety disorders typically antedate the cancer diagnosis and have clear symptom clusters defined by formal criteria. These include generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, phobias (e.g., needle, claustrophobia) and anxiety disorder due to another medical condition. These disorders require careful medical and psychiatric workup to identify potential etiologic stressors, agents, or responsible medical conditions.

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