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When an individual experiences a stressful event—such as being diagnosed with cancer—that person will likely feel anxiety caused by the situation. This is known as situational anxiety which is defined as “a state of apprehension, discomfort, and anxiety precipitated by the experience of new or changed situations or events.” Situational anxiety is not abnormal and requires little or no treatment—it usually disappears as the person adjusts to the new experience.
For many people, the impact of a cancer diagnosis is more than situational anxiety—it represents a significant psychological condition. Research in the mental and emotional impact of cancer found 35% of patients are depressed, over 50% have uncontrolled anxiety, and nearly all persons with cancer experience an increase in stress.
Based on the American Psychiatric Association (APA) Diagnostic Manual (DSM) criteria, a serious illness such as cancer is commonly associated with one or more of the following clinical psychological diagnoses:
• Acute Stress Disorder: Click here for information on Acute Stress Disorder.
• Adjustment: Click here for information on Adjustment.
• Anxiety: Click here for information on Anxiety
• Depression: Click here for information on Depressive Disorder.
: The information on psychological disorders is being offered for informational purposes only and not for self-diagnosis. To determine if you are experiencing a psychological and/or emotional condition, consult a licensed mental health professional for a complete evaluation.