Anxiety Disorders

PsychProfiler screens for anxiety disorders in children and adults including generalised anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder, separation anxiety disorder, and specific phobias. The Child and Adolescent PsychProfiler (CAPP) allows for three separate respondents when screening – i.e., the child or adolescent, the parent, and the teacher. The Adult PsychProfiler (APP) allows for two separate respondents when screening – i.e., the adult and an observer (e.g., spouse, parent, etc).

Types of anxiety disorders that the PsychProfiler screens for:

Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

Some worry is normal, however, ongoing worry that detrimentally interferes with school, work and/or relationships may be a sign of generalised anxiety. GAD can present with both psychological symptoms as well as physical signs. Ongoing worry and anxiety, overthinking, perceiving situations or events as threatening, difficulty concentrating and the inability to let things go or move on are all symptoms of GAD. Physical signs include fatigue, insomnia, muscle tension and aching, nervousness, excessive sweating, nausea, and irritability.

Someone with GAD often worries uncontrollably about something, even if they know it is actually OK. Or, they may have concerns that reduce their day-to-day function but can’t quite put their finger on what the issue actually is. People with generalised anxiety disorder worry about multiple concerns for a prolonged period of time.

Panic Disorder

A panic attack is known as a sudden feeling of fear that can come on unexpectedly at any time. Panic disorder may be diagnosed when a person has had more than one panic attack. It can present with increased heart rate, sense of danger, sweating, trembling, or shaking, shortness of breath or feeling suffocated, dizziness or faintness, fear of losing control or fear of dying. Generally, a panic attack will last 5-10 minutes, although for some people the symptoms can last hours.

There is a link between panic attacks and phobias, although they can also occur seemingly out of the blue. People with panic disorder may have experienced a big life change such as losing a loved one, having a baby, or separating from a partner.

Separation Anxiety Disorder

Separation anxiety is common in infants as they learn to navigate the world more independently. Generally, children will become accustomed to time away from close caregivers by about age three. Separation anxiety disorder (SAD) is diagnosed when a child’s anxiety seems more intense and prolonged and is interfering with school or the ability to focus on daily activities.

Adults and adolescents can also have separation anxiety disorder with similar symptoms to children. It can include fear and panic when away from loved ones and home. Some parents may have severe separation anxiety when away from their children, leading to over-involved parenting. For those with separation anxiety when away from loved ones, it can lead to being an overbearing partner or friend.

Symptoms include recurrent and excessive distress when away from home or loved ones, fear of illness, disaster, or death of loved ones and/or anxiety sleeping away from a loved one. It may manifest in panic attacks, bouts of depression, withdrawal from social situations or physical symptoms such as headaches and/or stomach aches.


A phobia is an intense or irrational fear reaction. It is likely to be a very specific fear whereas generalised anxiety disorders are more overarching, hence the term generalised. The fear could be a certain place, object, or situation. Most people with phobias know their fear may be irrational but cannot help feeling panicked, anxious or frightened anyway. Phobias that interfere with school, work, relationships, and daily activities are a cause for treatment.

Common phobias include agoraphobia (extreme fear of places you can’t escape from), social phobias (severe social anxiety), acrophobia (extreme fear of heights), claustrophobia (extreme fear of confined spaces) or aviophobia (extreme fear of flying). This can manifest similarly to a panic attack with a racing heartbeat, shortness of breath, hyperventilating, and a sense of doom.

What is PsychProfiler?

PsychProfiler screens for 20 of the most common psychiatric, psychological, and educational disorders in children, adolescents and adults. It is based on the DSM-5 and can be used by individuals, parents, and practitioners to aid in the diagnosis of disorders by professionals.

Learn more about PsychProfiler here.