Despite the effort on DSM-5 and ICD-11, few appear satisfied with these classification systems. We suggest that the core reason for dissatisfaction is expecting too much from them; they do not provide discrete categories that map to specific causes of disease, they describe clinical syndromes intended to guide treatment choices. Here we review work on anxiety and anxiety disorders to argue that while clinicians draw a pragmatic distinction between normal and abnormal emotions based on considerations such as severity and duration, understanding the evolutionary origins and utility of the emotions, including the adaptive value of adverse emotions, is key for formulating comprehensive assessments of an individual patients symptoms and for providing a conceptual foundation for pharmacotherapy, psychotherapy, and public health.
- anxiety disorders
- evolutionary theory
- psychiatric classification
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)