The patients anxiety symptoms meet criteria for a panic attack but not panic disorder. Anxiety symptoms only occur when the patient is in specific situations (ie, speaking to groups) in which she is exposed to possible scrutiny of others. The limitation of attacks to this specific situation and her fear of embarrassment are characteristic of social phobia. For a diagnosis of panic disorder, panic attacks must be unexpected, with or without agoraphobia. For a diagnosis of acute stress disorder, the patient must be exposed to a traumatic stressor. A diagnosis of GAD would require excessive worry about events or activities in addition to being embarrassed in public.1
- Social phobia.
1. American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders. 4th ed., text revision. Washington (DC): The Association; 2000.
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