Phobic Disorders Differential Diagnoses

Updated: Aug 01, 2018
  • Author: Adrian Preda, MD; Chief Editor: David Bienenfeld, MD  more...
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Diagnostic Considerations

Anxiety secondary to medical conditions must be excluded. Many anxiety attack symptoms resemble those found in life-threatening medical disorders (eg, myocardial infarction), which must be ruled out first.

Phobic disorders in general have a higher female preponderance, though a higher percentage of men tend to seek treatment for social anxiety disorder. Earlier median ages at illness onset are reported for specific phobia and social anxiety disorder than for agoraphobia. [36] Most specific phobias develop during childhood and eventually disappear. Those that persist into adulthood rarely go away without treatment. [37]

In addition to the conditions listed in the differential diagnosis, other problems to be considered include the following:

  • Alcoholism

  • Body dysmorphic disorder

  • Bulimia nervosa

  • Delusional disorder

  • Depersonalization disorder

  • Depression

  • Eating disorder, anorexia

  • Hyperhidrosis

  • Hypochondriasis

  • Hypoglycemia

  • Mitral valve prolapse

  • Paruresis

  • Pervasive developmental disorder

  • Pheochromocytoma

  • Schizophrenia

  • Seizure

  • Somatoform disorders

  • Stimulants

  • Ventricular premature complexes

  • Vertigo

  • Vestibular dysfunction

Differential Diagnoses