Author: Jonathan O. Cole, John M. Davis
There are serious problems in the terminology, definition and measurement of anxiety which are mainly beyond the scope of this chapter. For present purposes, a combination of free-floating fear or apprehension, psychic and somatic manifestations of anxiety and of tension spreading over into depression, irritability or hypochondriasis must be considered loosely as the target area of antianxiety drugs. Attempts to cluster anxiety symptoms into coherent subgroups and to separate anxious symptoms from depressive symptoms have produced either no separation, confusion, or relatively unhelpful groupings of semantically related items. Since many rating scales which include selections from this mixture of symptoms show clear drug-placebo differences in patients identified by psychiatrists as being “anxious,” one almost has to assume that a more detailed delineation of anxiety symptoms is not empirically necessary to determine the efficacy of most drugs.