Anxiety disorders, phobias and stress-related disorders: Pathology Review

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Anxiety disorders, phobias and stress-related disorders: Pathology Review

Psychological disorders

Mood disorders

Major depressive disorder


Bipolar disorder

Seasonal affective disorder

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder

Anxiety disorders

Generalized anxiety disorder

Social anxiety disorder

Panic disorder



Obsessive-compulsive disorders

Obsessive-compulsive disorder

Body focused repetitive disorders

Body dysmorphic disorder

Stress-related disorders and abuse

Post-traumatic stress disorder

Physical and sexual abuse

Psychotic disorders

Schizoaffective disorder

Schizophreniform disorder

Delusional disorder


Cognitive and dissociative disorders



Dissociative disorders

Eating disorders

Anorexia nervosa

Bulimia nervosa

Personality disorders

Cluster A personality disorders

Cluster B personality disorders

Cluster C personality disorders

Somatoform and factitious disorders

Somatic symptom disorder

Factitious disorder

Substance use disorders and drugs of abuse

Tobacco dependence

Opioid dependence

Cannabis dependence

Cocaine dependence

Alcohol use disorder

Sleep disorders


Nocturnal enuresis


Night terrors

Narcolepsy (NORD)

Sexual dysfunction disorders

Erectile dysfunction

Male hypoactive sexual desire disorder

Orgasmic dysfunction

Female sexual interest and arousal disorder

Genito-pelvic pain and penetration disorder

Pediatric disorders

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

Disruptive, impulse control, and conduct disorders

Learning disability

Fetal alcohol syndrome

Tourette syndrome

Autism spectrum disorder

Rett syndrome

Shaken baby syndrome



Psychiatric emergencies


Serotonin syndrome

Neuroleptic malignant syndrome

Psychological disorders review

Mood disorders: Pathology review

Amnesia, dissociative disorders and delirium: Pathology review

Personality disorders: Pathology review

Eating disorders: Pathology review

Psychological sleep disorders: Pathology review

Psychiatric emergencies: Pathology review

Drug misuse, intoxication and withdrawal: Hallucinogens: Pathology review

Malingering, factitious disorders and somatoform disorders: Pathology review

Anxiety disorders, phobias and stress-related disorders: Pathology Review

Trauma- and stress-related disorders: Pathology review

Schizophrenia spectrum disorders: Pathology review

Drug misuse, intoxication and withdrawal: Stimulants: Pathology review

Drug misuse, intoxication and withdrawal: Alcohol: Pathology review

Developmental and learning disorders: Pathology review

Childhood and early-onset psychological disorders: Pathology review


Anxiety disorders, phobias and stress-related disorders: Pathology Review

USMLE® Step 1 questions

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USMLE® Step 1 style questions USMLE

of complete

A 17-year-old girl is brought to the physician by her mother due to recent hair loss. The mother tells the physician that she has noticed a gradual loss of hair on her daughter’s head over the past 3 months. The daughter is embarrassed by her appearance and always tries to cover her hair with a hat. When interviewed alone, the patient tells the physician she sometimes plucks hair off her head. She has tried multiple times to stop this behavior, but she has been unable to do so. She adds that she feels excessive stress before hair pulling that is resolved when she pulls her hair. Which of the following will be most likely seen on microscopic examination of the hair follicles and the scalp of this patient?


Content Reviewers

Antonella Melani, MD


Sam Gillespie, BSc

Alaina Mueller

Antonia Syrnioti, MD

19 year old Anastasia comes to the emergency department convinced that she’s about to die from a heart attack.

It all started as soon as she entered the lecture hall to take her final exam for college, when she began sweating and feeling light-headed.

Within 5 minutes, this quickly progressed to being unable to breathe and experiencing a stabbing chest pain.

She denies the use of illicit substances or alcohol and has no personal or family history of cardiovascular or pulmonary disease.

Her mother, who’s by her side, mentions that Anastasia has had five similar episodes in the past six months, all while preparing for her exams.

Anastasia adds that she wants to quit college, because she is afraid an attack will happen again and she won’t be able to make it.

Upon examination, her ECG is normal, and on a blood test, D-dimer is negative, and cardiac enzymes remain normal after 6 hours.

The next day, you see 43 year old Olivia, who is brought to office by her husband, who thinks she needs help.

They constantly get into fights because Olivia wants everything in the house to be sparkling-clean and organized in a very specific way.

She always blames him for leaving contaminated fingerprints around the house and moving items from their proper place.

She then goes on to clean up for hours and even loses sleep over it

When you ask Olivia about these behaviors, she says that she understands they are irrational and wishes she could stop them, but she just can’t.

Okay, based on the initial presentation, both Anastasia and Olivia seem to have some form of anxiety or obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Many of us experience fear or anxiety during stressful times, which is perfectly normal and can actually be beneficial, since it helps set the body on high-alert.

Now, fear is the emotional response to an imminent threat or danger, and can cause a fight or flight response when your life is threatened.

For your exams, make sure you can differentiate fear from anxiety, which is the anticipation of a future threat or stressful situation with an uncertain outcome, and is often associated with feelings of worry and nervousness, which causes avoidant behaviors.

Now, it’s important to keep in mind that fear and anxiety can be experienced at the same time.

For example, you may fear a particularly tough exam, while feeling anxious about an uncertain outcome like passing it!

So, normally, fear and anxiety occur in response to a real threat, but normally shouldn’t cause any excessive physical or psychological manifestations, other than perhaps, mild insomnia before an important event, like the night before your test!


  1. "Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, Twentieth Edition (Vol.1 & Vol.2)" McGraw-Hill Education / Medical (2018)
  2. "Robbins Basic Pathology" Elsevier (2017)
  3. "Pathophysiology of Disease: An Introduction to Clinical Medicine 8E" McGraw-Hill Education / Medical (2018)
  4. "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders" A.P. Association and A.P.A.T.F.O.N.A. Statistics (1980)
  5. "Effectiveness of Psychological and/or Educational Interventions in the Prevention of Anxiety" JAMA Psychiatry (2017)
  6. "Comparative Effectiveness and Safety of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Pharmacotherapy for Childhood Anxiety Disorders" JAMA Pediatrics (2017)

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