Anxiety Disorders and Phobias in the DSM 5

Anxiety disorders and phobias are among the most common mental health conditions affecting people in Australia and around the world. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) is the authoritative guide used by mental health professionals to diagnose and classify mental health conditions, including anxiety disorders and phobias. In this article, we will explore the DSM-5 criteria for diagnosing anxiety disorders and phobias, as well as provide an overview of the different types of anxiety disorders and phobias.

What is the DSM-5?

The DSM-5 is the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, published by the American Psychiatric Association. It is the most up-to-date version of the manual and is used by mental health professionals to diagnose and classify mental health conditions. The DSM-5 provides diagnostic criteria for common mental health conditions, including anxiety disorders and phobias.

DSM-5 Criteria for Anxiety Disorders and Phobias

The DSM-5 provides criteria for diagnosing anxiety disorders and phobias. To be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, a person must have at least one of the following symptoms:

• Excessive worry or fear about a variety of situations
• Excessive fear or avoidance of specific objects or situations
• Panic attacks
• Obsessive-compulsive disorder
• Post-traumatic stress disorder

In addition, the person must experience significant distress or impairment in functioning due to the symptoms.

To be diagnosed with a phobia, a person must have an excessive or unreasonable fear of a specific object or situation that causes them to experience significant distress or impairment in functioning.

Types of Anxiety Disorders and Phobias

The DSM-5 recognizes several different types of anxiety disorders and phobias, including:

• Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD): GAD is characterized by excessive worry or fear about a variety of situations.

• Panic Disorder: Panic disorder is characterized by recurrent panic attacks, which are sudden episodes of intense fear or discomfort.

• Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD): SAD is characterized by excessive fear or avoidance of social situations.

• Specific Phobias: Specific phobias are characterized by an excessive or unreasonable fear of a specific object or situation. Common examples include fear of flying, fear of heights, and fear of animals.

• Agoraphobia: Agoraphobia is characterized by fear or avoidance of situations that may cause panic, such as being in a crowded place or being in an unfamiliar place.

• Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD): OCD is characterized by recurrent, intrusive thoughts (obsessions) and repetitive behaviors or mental acts (compulsions).

• Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): PTSD is characterized by persistent re-experiencing of a traumatic event, avoidance of reminders of the event, and increased arousal.

Conclusion

Anxiety disorders and phobias are common mental health conditions that can have a significant impact on a person’s life. The DSM-5 provides criteria for diagnosing anxiety disorders and phobias, as well as an overview of the different types of anxiety disorders and phobias. If you are experiencing symptoms of an anxiety disorder or phobia, it is important to seek professional help. A mental health professional can help you to identify the type of anxiety disorder or phobia you may be experiencing and develop an appropriate treatment plan.

FAQs

What is the DSM 5?

The DSM 5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition) is a comprehensive classification of mental health disorders used by mental health professionals to diagnose and treat mental health conditions.

What are anxiety disorders and phobias?

Anxiety disorders and phobias are types of mental health disorders that involve excessive fear or anxiety. These can include panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, specific phobias, and generalized anxiety disorder.

What anxiety disorders and phobias are included in the DSM 5?

The DSM 5 includes panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, specific phobias, and generalized anxiety disorder as part of its classification of anxiety disorders and phobias.


References

American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Association.

Kessler, R. C., Petukhova, M., Sampson, N. A., Zaslavsky, A. M., & Wittchen, H. U. (2012). Twelve-month and lifetime prevalence and lifetime morbid risk of anxiety and mood disorders in the United States. International Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research, 21(3), 169-184.

Sartory, G., & Hofmann, A. (2020). The role of fear in anxiety disorders: A review of the DSM-5. Clinical Psychology Review, 73, 101820.