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Anxiety Disorders (Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, Phobias)

Students with anxiety disorders experience chronic feelings of worry or apprehension that may or may not be precipitated by phobias. In extreme cases the anxiety may express itself in panic attacks.
Anxiety disorders affect about 40 million American adults age 18 years and older in a given year causing them to be filled with fearfulness and uncertainty. Unlike the relatively brief anxiety caused by a stressful event such as giving a speech, anxiety disorders last at least 6 months and can get worse if left untreated. Students with anxiety disorders may have excessive but non-specific worries about just about anything in their environment. The debilitating nature of the anxiety is often out of proportion with the likelihood of the feared event(s) occurring. They may have difficulty concentrating, falling and staying asleep, and may startle easily.

Observing Anxiety Disorders (Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, Phobias) in the Classroom

Faculty might observe the following characteristics in students with anxiety disorders:

  • Poor attendance
  • Anxious behavior during a spirited discussion or debate
  • Absence when scheduled to do a presentation
  • Lack of participation in class discussions
  • Extreme nervousness or irritability
  • Lack of ability to concentrate

Resources

Related Functional Characteristics

Anxiety : The defining characteristic of anxiety disorders is a feeling of anxiety in response to a real or imagined situation, event, or other trigger.

Attentional Underfocus : Students with anxiety disorders may be unable to concentrate when they are experiencing stress or an anxiety attack.

Restlessness (Physical) : Students with anxiety disorders may experience physical restlessness as a result of their level of anxiety.

Sensory Distractibility : Students with anxiety disorders are often constantly monitoring their environment and therefore miss what is being said in a lecture or discussion.

The Building Accepting Campus Communities (BACC) project was funded by the US Department of Education Office of Secondary Education grant #P333A080070-09. The University of Nebraska does not discriminate based on gender, age, disability, race, color, religion, marital status, veteran's status, national or ethnic origin, or sexual orientation.