The DSM-III criteria for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) require the presence of unrealistic or excessive anxiety and worry, accompanied by symptoms from three of four categories: (1) motor tension, (2) autonomic hyperactivity, (3) vigilance and scanning, and (4) apprehensive expectation. The anxious mood must continue for at least a month, and the diagnosis is not made if phobias, panic disorder, or obsessive - compulsive disorder are present, or if the disturbance is due to another physical or mental disorder, such as hyperthyroidism, major depression, or schizophrenia (APA, 1980). By this definition, generalized anxiety disorder is treated primarily as a residual category after the exclusion of the other major anxiety disorders. DSM-III-R narrowed the definition further by requiring a minimum of six symptoms and a duration of six months (APA 1987).
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This guide Don't Panic has tips and additional information on what you should do when you are experiencing an anxiety or panic attack. With so much going on in the world today with taking care of your family, working full time, dealing with office politics and other things, you could experience a serious meltdown. All of these things could at one point cause you to stress out and snap.