Boundaries of anxiety disorder

The above conditions overlap as follows:

• with depression

In other words, the symptoms of an anxiety disorder are not qualitatively different from normality, unlike a psychotic disorder, where the definitive symptoms, such as delusions and hallucinations, are not seen in people in good mental health. After all, everyone worries, to a greater or lesser extent. The difference is that the person with an anxiety disorder worries to a pathological extent.

Anxiety and depression also coexist. Some anxiety symptoms will be present in every person with depression. Some patients with mild anxiety do not have low mood, but they are in a minority: most patients with diagnosable anxiety disorders have some coexisting mood symptoms.

Anxiety could to some extent be viewed as an early, mild form of depression. In this model, anxiety is prominent in the early stages, but, as the condition develops, low mood becomes more pronounced, and eventually comes to dominate the clinical picture. Accordingly, the diagnosis would then be one of a depressive illness.

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