Learning & Reference

Dictionary of Anxiety and Panic Disorders

Welcome to The ASAP Dictionary of Anxiety and Panic Disorders. This online dictionary defines many terms regarding anxiety disorders and healthy anxiety from psychological, medical, alternative, cultural and historical contexts.

The “Dictionary” section defines a variety of common and technical terms as well as notable acronyms and abbreviations. Use the alphabetic menu on the left to select any desired page of the dictionary.

A separate “Medications” section was created since there are an overwhelming number of generic and brand names for anxiety related medications. However, please note that the medications section is devoted to specific medications and that the more general pharmaceutical terms are addressed in the “Dictionary” section.

The dictionary and medication sections are extensively cross-linked to help explain the pros and cons of how medications relate to various issues.

The ASAP Dictionary is a constantly evolving document. If you have trouble finding an anxiety related term, please send us an e-mail. We also welcome critique of existing definitions. Knowledge of anxiety is rapidly changing and we are doing our best to provide the most recent and accurate information in a helpful and friendly format.


Throughout the last century, attempts to explain anxiety disorders mostly regarded psychological theories. Even today, the popular understanding of anxiety disorders is mostly psychological. In recent decades, however, discoveries have clearly shown that anxiety disorders can also be medical in nature. Consequently, the modern understanding of anxiety disorders requires an interdisciplinary perspective that respects both psychology and medicine.

The Internet (Usenet) group known as alt.support.anxiety-panic (ASAP) was created in 1994. ASAP was the first online group devoted to anxiety disorders. Within ASAP, patients, therapists and doctors openly discussed a variety of subjects and quickly became aware of a daunting body of information. To help organize and share this information, the first ASAP Dictionary was created in 1996. Since then, the dictionary has substantially grown and benefited from much revision and refinement. This dictionary has always been a non-profit, international collaboration of wonderful volunteers for everyone’s benefit.

The original ASAP group has been subject to much abuse over the years. Consequently, a moderated version of ASAP, known as alt.support.anxiety-panic.moderated (ASAPM), was created and became operational on April 16, 2003. ASAPM maintains a healthy spirit of compassionate support and sharing of information. Nonetheless, both ASAP and ASAPM continue to offer valuable input for this dictionary which is combined with valuable guidance by health care professionals and academic researchers.


Arthur Anderson

Arthur is an industry advocate for the betterment of mental health, working with companies, regulators and the general public to advocate for the advancement of mental health sciences and discipline. He holds a Masters in Psychology from Yale and is an active contributor to our publication providing quality content and industry reference resources.

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