Most anxiety disorders begin in childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood. Separation anxiety is an anxiety disorder that commonly begins in childhood and often includes anxiety related to going to school. This disorder may be a precursor for adult anxiety disorders, most commonly panic disorder. According to the DSM-5, separation anxiety disorder can begin in adulthood.
Panic disorder demonstrates a bimodal age of onset in the NCS study in the age groups of 15-24 years and 45-54 years. The age of onset for OCD appears to be in the mid 20s to early 30s.
Most social phobias begin before age 20 years (median age at illness onset, 16 years).
Agoraphobia usually begins in late adolescence to early adulthood (median age at illness onset, 29 years).
New-onset anxiety symptoms in older adults should prompt a search for an unrecognized general medical condition, a substance abuse disorder, or major depression with secondary anxiety symptoms.
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