Definition of Anxiety
anxiety is a feeling of apprehension or fear. The source of Anxiety uneasiness is not always known or recognized, which can add to the distress you feel. It is a feeling of unease, such as worry or fear, that can be mild or severe. Everyone has feelings of anxiety at some point in their life – for example, you may feel worried and anxious about sitting an exam, or having a medical test or job interview.
Types of Anxiety Disorders
- Panic Disorder
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder
1. Panic Disorder
- The abrupt onset of an episode of intense fear or discomfort, which peaks in approximately 10 minutes, and includes at least four of the following symptoms of Anxiety.
- A feeling of imminent danger or doom
- The need to escape
- Shortness of breath or a suffocating feeling
- A feeling of choking
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Nausea or abdominal discomfort
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- A sense of things being unreal,
- A fear of losing control or “going crazy”
- A fear of dying
- Tingling sensations
- Chills or hot flushes
2. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
- Characterized by uncontrollable obsessions and compulsions which the sufferer usually recognizes as being excessive or unreasonable.
- Obsessions are recurring thoughts or impulses that are intrusive or inappropriate and cause the sufferer anxiety:
–Thoughts about contamination, for example, when an individual fears coming into contact with dirt, germs or “unclean” objects;
–Persistent doubts, for example, whether or not one has turned off the iron or stove, locked the door or turned on the answering machine;
–Extreme need for orderliness;
–Aggressive impulses or thoughts, for example, being overcome with the urge to yell ‘fire’ in a crowded theater
- Compulsions are repetitive behaviors or rituals performed by the OCD sufferer, performance of these rituals neutralize the anxiety caused by obsessive thoughts, relief is only temporary.
–Cleaning. Repeatedly washing their hands, showering, or constantly cleaning their home;
–Checking. Individuals may check several or even hundreds of times to make sure that stoves are turned off and doors are locked;
–Repeating. Some repeat a name, phrase or action over and over;
–Slowness. Some individuals may take an excessively slow and methodical approach to daily activities, they may spend hours organizing and arranging objects;
–Hoarding. Hoarders are unable to throw away useless items, such as old newspapers, junk mail, even broken appliances.
3. Social Phobia/Anxiety
- Social anxiety disorder, also known as social phobia, is an intense fear of social situations. This fear arises when the individual believes that they may be judged, scrutinized or humiliated by others.
- Individuals with the disorder are acutely aware of the physical signs of their anxiety and fear that others will notice, judge them, and think poorly of them.
- In extreme cases this intense uneasiness can progress into a full blown panic attack.
4. Generalized Anxiety Disorder
- Excessive uncontrollable worry about everyday things. This constant worry affects daily functioning and can cause physical symptoms.
- GAD can occur with other anxiety disorders, depressive disorders, or substance abuse.
- The focus of GAD worry can shift, usually focusing on issues like job, finances, health of both self and family; but it can also include more mundane issues such as, chores, car repairs and being late for appointments.
- The intensity, duration and frequency of the worry are disproportionate to the issue.
Symptoms of Anxiety
Anxiety is an emotion often accompanied by
various physical symptoms, including:
- Twitching or trembling
- Muscle tension
- Dry mouth
- Difficulty swallowing
- Abdominal pain (may be the only symptom of stress especially in a child)
Treatment Of Anxiety
- Medications (Drug Therapy):
- Behavioral Therapy
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
- Psychodynamic Psychotherapy
- Buspirone: shown to be effective but usually takes 3-4 weeks, particularly useful in elderly patients
- Benzodiazepines: include Xanax and Valium, act rapidly and successfully but can be addictive and loses effectiveness over time
- Side Effects: dizziness, headaches, nausea, impaired memory
2. Behavioral and Cognitive Therapy
- Teaches patient to react differently to situations and bodily sensations that trigger anxiety
- Teaches patient to understand how thinking patterns that contribute to symptoms
- Patients learn that by changing how they perceive feelings of anxiety, the less likely they are to have them
- Examples: Hyperventilating, writing down list of top fears and doing one of them once a week, spinning in a chair until dizzy; after awhile patients learned to cope with the negative feelings associated with them and replace them with positive ones
3. Psychodynamic Psychotherapy
- Psychodynamic therapy is a general name for therapeutic approaches which try to get the patient to bring to the surface their true feelings, so that they can experience them and understand them. Psychodynamic Psychotherapy uses the basic assumption that everyone has feelings held in the subconscious which are too painful to be faced. We then come up with defenses (such as denial) to protect us knowing about these painful feelings.
- Psychodynamic psychotherapy assumes that these defenses have gone wrong and are causing more harm than good, making you seek help. It tries to subdue them, with the intention that once you are aware of what is really going on in your mind the feelings will not be as painful.
- Takes an extremely long time and is labor intensive
- Benefits: symbolic meaning of the activity, the distraction from worries, mastery of a sport, effects on self image, biochemical and physiological changes associated with exercise, symbolic meaning of the sport
- Helps by expelling negative emotions and adrenaline out of your body in order to enter a more relaxed, calm state to deal with issues and conflicts
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