Diagnostic Criteria

A. The predominant disturbance is generalized and persistent anxiety or worry (not related to concerns about separation), as manifested by at least four of the following:

  1. unrealistic worry about future events
  2. preoccupation with the appropriateness of the individual's behavior in the past
  3. overconcern about competence in a variety of areas, e.g., academic, athletic, social
  4. excessive need for reassurance about a variety of worries
  5. somatic complaints, such as headaches or stomachaches, for which no physical basis can be established
  6. marked self-consciousness or susceptibility to embarrassment or humiliation
  7. marked feelings of tension or inability to relax

B. The symptoms in A have persisted for at least six months.

C. If 18 or older, does not meet the criteria for Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

D. The disturbance is not due to another mental disorder, such as Separation Anxiety Disorder, Avoidant Disorder of Childhood or Adolescence, Phobic Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Depressive Disorder, Schizophrenia, or a Pervasive Developmental Disorder.

Differential Diagnosis

Separation Anxiety Disorder

In Separation Anxiety Disorder, the anxiety is focused on situations involving separation (e.g., going to school).

Attention Deficit Disorder

Children with Attention Deficit Disorder may appear nervous and jittery, but are not unduly concerned about the future. The two disorders, however, may coexist.

Adjustment Disorder

In Adjustment Disorder with Anxious Mood, the anxiety is always clearly related to the recent occurrence of a psychosocial stressor.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Major Depression, Schizophrenia, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder

Overanxious Disorder should not be diagnosed when the anxiety is due to another disorder, such as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Major Depression, Schizophrenia, or Pervasive Developmental Disorder.


See Anxiety Disorder Not Otherwise Specified

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