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Anxiety Disorder

Accommodation and Compliance: Anxiety Disorder

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About Anxiety Disorder

Anxiety disorders affect millions of American adults. These disorders include generalized anxiety disorder, acute stress disorder, substance-induced anxiety disorder, anxiety disorder due to a general medical condition, anxiety disorder not otherwise specified, panic disorder with or without agoraphobia, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, social phobia, and specific phobias. Anxiety disorders are clinically distinct from transitional anxiety experienced during events such as a wedding, moving into a new home, dealing with the illness or death of a loved one, or beginning a new job. Individuals with anxiety disorders may experience feelings of panic; extreme physical, mental, or emotional stress; and intense fear. Due to the highly individualized nature of mental health conditions, symptoms can present in numerous ways and significantly impact the functionality of individuals with Anxiety Disorders.

Anxiety Disorder and the Americans with Disabilities Act

The ADA does not contain a definitive list of medical conditions that constitute disabilities. Instead, the ADA defines a person with a disability as someone who (1) has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more "major life activities," (2) has a record of such an impairment, or (3) is regarded as having such an impairment. For more information about how to determine whether a person has a disability under the ADA, see How to Determine Whether a Person Has a Disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA).

Accommodating Employees with Anxiety Disorder

People with anxiety may develop some of the limitations discussed below, but seldom develop all of them. Also, the degree of limitation will vary among individuals. Be aware that not all people with anxiety will need accommodations to perform their jobs and many others may only need a few accommodations. The following is only a sample of the possibilities available. Numerous other accommodation solutions may exist.

Questions to Consider:

  1. What limitations is the employee experiencing?
  2. How do these limitations affect the employee and the employee’s job performance?
  3. What specific job tasks are problematic as a result of these limitations?
  4. What accommodations are available to reduce or eliminate these problems? Are all possible resources being used to determine possible accommodations?
  5. Once accommodations are in place, would it be useful to meet with the employee to evaluate the effectiveness of the accommodations and to determine whether additional accommodations are needed?
  6. Do supervisory personnel and employees need training?

Key Accommodations:

Managing Panic Attacks: For individuals with mental health conditions, having accommodations to help manage panic attacks can be helpful. 

Accommodation Ideas:

Situations and Solutions:

The following situations and solutions are real-life examples of accommodations that were made by JAN customers. Because accommodations are made on a case-by-case basis, these examples may not be effective for every workplace but give you an idea about the types of accommodations that are possible.

Events Regarding Anxiety Disorder

Other Information Regarding Anxiety Disorder


American Psychiatric Association
American Psychological Association
American Tinnitus Association
Anxiety and Depression Association of America
Anxiety Disorders Association of America
Brain & Behavior Research Foundation
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Freedom From Fear
Job Accommodation Network
Mayo Clinic
Mental Health America
National Alliance on Mental Illness
National Center for Biotechnology Information
National Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Association
National Institute of Mental Health
National Jewish Health
National Social Anxiety Center
Office on Women's Health
Remedy's Health Communites
Soft Lights Foundation
Suicide Prevention Resources
The Enviromental Illness Resource
Tourette Syndrome "Plus"