The Assignment: (1–2 pages)

  • Compare an anxiety disorder with an adjustment disorder (similarities and differences).
  • Explain factors that complicate a diagnosis of anxiety versus an adjustment disorder.
  • Using the case you selected, explain how ethnicity and background may affect the diagnosis.
  • APA format
  • Use the DSM-5 to support all facts!


A Mother’s Fears

Mary, a married mother of three, was 47 at the time she first sought treatment for anxiety. She reported being intensely afraid of enclosed spaces (claustrophobia) and of heights (acrophobia) since her teens. She said that as a child, her older siblings used to lock her in closets and hold her down under blankets while saying things to scare her. She traced the onset of her claustrophobia to those traumatic incidents, but she had no idea why she was afraid of heights. While her children had been growing up, she had been a housewife and had managed to live a fairly normal life in spite of her two specific phobias. However, her children were now grown, and she wanted to find a job outside her home. This was proving to be very difficult because she could not take elevators and was terrified of being any higher than the first floor of an office building. Moreover, her husband had for some years been working for an airline, which entitled him to free airline tickets. The fact that Mary could not fly (due to her phobias) had become a sore point in her marriage because they both wanted to be able to take advantage of these free tickets to travel to distant places. Thus, although she had had these phobias for many years, they had become truly disabling only in recent years as her life circumstances had changed and she could no longer easily avoid heights or enclosed spaces.

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