What should be the focus of the medical history in suspected anxiety disorder?

Updated: Mar 27, 2019
  • Author: Nita V Bhatt, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: David Bienenfeld, MD  more...
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Answer

To rule out anxiety disorders secondary to general medical or substance abuse conditions, a detailed history and review of symptoms is essential. Review use of caffeine-containing beverages (coffee, tea, colas), over-the-counter medications (aspirin with caffeine, sympathomimetics), herbal “medications,” or street drugs. Ask the patient’s sleep partner about apneic episodes or myoclonic limb jerks. Concurrent depressive symptoms are common in all of the anxiety disorders. Severe anxiety disorders may produce agitation, suicidal ideation, and increased risk of completed suicide. Always ask about suicidal ideation or suicidal intent. (See Mental Status Examination)


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