Other Anxiety Disorders

A diagnosis in its simplest form is really just a list of symptoms or common traits that are identified with a label or name. To be given a formal diagnosis a person needs to have met certain criteria, but people and their lives don’t always fit nicely into the categories or labels that we call diagnoses. That’s where the following four diagnoses come into play.

These diagnoses are used not so much to give a name to a certain set a symptoms, but to provide either a better understanding of a person’s situation and help clinicians to treat a person with a diagnosis, or to catch people from falling through the cracks, such as someone who might come really close to qualifying for an Anxiety Disorder but who would otherwise fall short on a technicality.

Substance/Medication-Induced Anxiety Disorder

 

This diagnosis is used to help explain the reason for a person’s Anxiety Disorder. Whereas most Anxiety Disorders come from within a person (i.e. are internal), those with this diagnosis have an Anxiety Disorder with an external source. In other words, the set of symptoms that you’re experiencing that we’re calling an Anxiety Disorder are essentially a side effect of certain medications or drugs that you’re taking.

In the case of a Substance/Medication-Induced Anxiety Disorder a person will have experienced panic attacks or anxiety as the primary symptom of the condition.

The panic attacks or anxiety will have begun (1) when the person was intoxicated, (2) shortly after withdrawal, or (3) after starting a medication regime.

Unlike with the other Anxiety Disorders it’s not necessary to look at the precise circumstances around how the anxiety symptoms express themselves. In other words, it doesn’t matter if a person is afraid about being in a certain situation, if the anxiety is related to a particular person, etc. The focus here is on (a) having anxiety and/or panic attack symptoms and (b) the use of a legally obtained medication, an illegal drug, or another chemical substance that is believed to be causing the anxiety and/or panic attack symptoms.

Technically speaking the actual diagnosis that would be given would be named after the specific drug or medication being used that led to the anxiety symptoms. For example:

  • Alcohol-Induced Anxiety Disorder

  • Caffeine-Induced Anxiety Disorder

  • Cannabis-Induced Anxiety Disorder

  • Opioid-Induced Anxiety Disorder

  • LSD-Induced Anxiety Disorder

  • Cocaine-Induced Anxiety Disorder

  • Lorazepam-Induced Anxiety Disorder

  • Insulin-Induced Anxiety Disorder

Anxiety Disorder Due to Another Medical Condition

 

This diagnosis is used to help explain the reason for a person’s Anxiety Disorder. Whereas most Anxiety Disorders come from within a person (i.e. are internal), those with this diagnosis have an Anxiety Disorder with an external source. In other words, the set of symptoms that you’re experiencing that we’re calling an Anxiety Disorder are essentially a result or symptom of a separate medical issue.

In the case of an Anxiety Disorder Due to Another Medical Condition a person will have experienced panic attacks or anxiety as the primary symptom of the condition. The medical condition must have begun prior to the onset of the panic attacks or anxiety symptoms.

Unlike with the other Anxiety Disorders it’s not necessary to look at the precise circumstances around how the anxiety symptoms express themselves. In other words, it doesn’t matter if a person is afraid about being in a certain situation, if the anxiety is related to a particular person, etc. The focus here is on (a) having anxiety and/or panic attack symptoms and (b) the existence of a medical condition that is believed to be causing the anxiety and/or panic attack symptoms.

To be clear however, the panic attacks or anxiety are a direct result of a separate medical condition and not anxiety stemming from having the other medical condition. In other words, if the other medical condition is asthma, the Anxiety Disorder described here is a side effect or symptom of the asthma and not fear or anxiety about what it will be like to live with asthma, worrying about how difficult it will be to breathe, or stressing about being caught without an inhaler.

In the case of an Anxiety Disorder Due to Another Medical Condition there would be a strong physiological connection. Put another way, this diagnosis is typically more than an emotional only expression of anxiety, with physical symptoms of anxiety (e.g. sweating, dizziness, trembling, chills, or chest pains) usually being present as well.

 

Technically speaking the actual diagnosis that would be given would be named after the specific medical condition that led to the anxiety symptoms. For example:

  • Anxiety Disorder Due to Hyperthyroidism

  • Anxiety Disorder Due to Hypoglycemia

  • Anxiety Disorder Due to Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

  • Anxiety Disorder Due to Asthma

  • Anxiety Disorder Due to Pneumonia

  • Anxiety Disorder Due to a Vitamin B12 deficiency

  • Anxiety Disorder Due to Encephalitis

  • Anxiety Disorder Due to Congestive Heart Failure

Other Specified Anxiety Disorder

 

When a person is given the diagnosis “Other Specified Anxiety Disorder” it means that the clinician providing the diagnosis doesn’t want the person to fall through the cracks. It means that a person meets nearly, but not all of the criteria to qualify for a specific Anxiety Disorder.

For example, a person with Generalized Anxiety Disorder must technically experience some symptoms “more days than not”. If a clinician feels that all of the symptoms generally associated with Generalized Anxiety Disorder are present except for the fact that there’s a fairly even number of days with and without symptoms, a diagnosis of Other Specified Anxiety Disorder may be given. The clinician would then explain that the person has generalized anxiety that happens to not occur “more days than not”. Whenever possible, this diagnosis would be replaced with a more traditional Anxiety Disorder diagnosis.

Unspecified Anxiety Disorder

 

When a person is given the diagnosis “Unspecified Anxiety Disorder” it means that the clinician providing the diagnosis doesn’t want the person to fall through the cracks. This diagnosis gives the clinician some leeway that the other diagnoses do not provide.

This diagnosis may be given when the clinician feels that a person generally speaking has an Anxiety Disorder but chooses not to include why a more traditional diagnosis is not given. This could happen for a number of reasons. For example, a clinician may not be ready to give a more traditional diagnosis because they want to give it more time to see if things change. Additionally, this diagnosis may be given in situations where incomplete information is available such as in an emergency room visit or when a person isn’t fully alert. When possible and sensible to do so, this diagnosis would be replaced with a more traditional Anxiety Disorder diagnosis.

Disclaimer

All information on this website has been professionally prepared, but also intentionally written in a manner that is not overly technical. The terms used here are usually, but not always the formal and proper terminology or diagnoses that would be used between professionals. Similarly, we made a decision to not provide the full and exhaustive diagnostic criteria here. This is done so as to be informative and more easily understood by people who are not in the field of mental health. At the same time all reasonable efforts are taken to assure that the information presented here is as accurate as possible. We also provide a list of common definitions and abbreviations that you may find useful.

While clinical descriptions are not intended to be overly technical, they do attempt to be accurate and consistent with the DSM standards. Any changes made are superficial and done so for the sake of ease of comprehension.

 

It’s important to point out that the information provided on this website is not designed to replace a proper clinical assessment performed by a qualified professional. The descriptions on this website are not intended, nor should they be used to self-diagnose or to diagnose those around you.

Please also see our Terms & Conditions and particularly the sections on Clinical Information and Mental Health Conditions.

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