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Generalized anxiety disorders 

Generalized anxiety disorders
Generalized anxiety disorders

Stella Bitran

, David H. Barlow

, and David A. Spiegel

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date: 29 June 2022

Anxious apprehension and overconcern are common to many anxiety and mood disorders. Prior to 1980 in the American DSM diagnostic system, and 1992 in the international ICD system, individuals who experienced those symptoms in the absence of a realistic focus of concern were classified as having an ‘anxiety neurosis’ (DSM-II) or ‘anxiety state’ (ICD-9). In DSM-III, panic disorder was split off from that classification, and the residual category was renamed generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). A similar nomenclature was adopted in ICD-10. Since its inception, GAD as a nosological entity has been troubled by problems of poor reliability and high comorbidity. Those concerns have prompted several revisions of the DSM criteria and also have raised more basic questions regarding the validity of GAD as a disorder distinct from other anxiety and mood states. The question of what is the nature of GAD is still being debated and it remains one of the least reliably diagnosed anxiety or mood disorders. This diagnostic unreliability has led to various suggestions for revisions to the diagnostic criteria and criticisms of the current definition of GAD.

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