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Table 4 Medications that can cause symptoms resembling anxiety

GAD is distinguished from other psychiatric disorders, in part, by the focus of the anxiety and worry, which is not limited to a feature of another disorder. For example, the worry is not only about the possible occurrence or implications of panic attacks (as in panic disorder), or about negative evaluations by others (social phobia), gaining weight (anorexia nervosa), or having a serious illness (hypochondriasis). In obsessive-compulsive disorder, the anxiety and worry are associated with intrusive thoughts, images, or impulses that are distressing.

Generalized anxiety commonly occurs in depression, and GAD and depression also share associated symptoms such as sleep disturbance, fatigue, restlessness, and poor concentration. When the associated symptoms could fit with either disorder, the distinction is made on the basis of the presence and time course of depressed mood relative to anxiety. In DSM-IV, GAD is not diagnosed if its features occur exclusively during a mood disorder.

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