Anxiety disorders: introduction
Although anxiety as a clinical phenomenon has been described for thousands of years, truly effective pharmacological and psychological treatments began in the late 1950s and early 1960s with the development of behaviour therapy and benzodiazepines. Progress was hampered by the inadequacy of diagnostic classification systems and the tendency in clinical practice to identify 'anxiety states' without regard to specificity. This changed with the development of the third edition of the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-III; American Psychiatric Association, 1980), which was driven by a 'pharmacological dissection' showing that panic and generalized anxiety disorder differed in terms of medication response (Klein and Fink, 1962). The development of behaviour therapy (Wolpe, 1958), and subsequently cognitive-behavioural therapy (Hawton et al., 1989), further reinforced the importance of specificity in the understanding and treatment of anxiety disorders. © 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.