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Anxiety Disorders: Diagnosis and Treatment


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Running Head: Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety Disorders: Diagnosis and Treatment

Karanda Farmer

The University of Phoenix


March 31, 2013

Anxiety Disorders: Diagnosis and Treatment

Anxiety is a normal emotion experienced by every human being every now and then when faced with problems. However, excessive distress that interferes with a person’s ability to operate normally causes anxiety disorder. Constant overwhelming and crippling worry and fear characterize this mental illness. This paper chronicles the diagnosis and treatment of the following anxiety disorders: Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Panic Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and Separation Anxiety.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, OCD, is characterized by excessive uneasiness, fear, and apprehension or worry caused by intrusive thoughts, either real or imagined. The individual experiencing this kind of disorder often exhibits ritualistic behaviors: hand-washing several times a day, eating certain foods at precise times, and opening or tapping on doors a number of times before entering. The current trends in the field of Psychiatry indicate that about a quarter of the population will suffer from this disorder in their lifetime. If an adolescent is diagnosed with OCD, the disorder will more than likely follow the teen into adulthood. Compared to men, women are affected by the disorder at a rate twice as high as men are affected. Source for this entire paragraph.

The current general criteria used in the diagnosis of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder requires that an individual must have either obsessions or compulsions, realize that they are excessive or unreasonable, and they interfere with the individual’s daily routine. The obsessions must be persistent and recurrent thoughts or images that are intrusive and cause great distress. The compulsions form specific criteria under which a repetitive behavior, which is meant to prevent or distress, keeps on driving the individual. Source?

Cognitive behavior therapy, medication, or both, are the evidence-based treatments for OCD. Studies conducted indicate that at least six months duration of treatment lowers the chances of a relapse, though no optimal duration has been given. Source? Too short to be a paragraph.

The trigger of Panic Disorder is mostly fear, stress, or an excessive exercise routine. This is characterized by apprehension and brief attacks of intense terror, and can lead to confusion, nausea, shaking, and trembling. A diagnosis of Panic Disorder is marked by persistent fear of future attack and their potential this is an incomplete sentence. The sufferer, who is mostly hyper-vigilant, often notices symptoms even outside a specific panic episode. The heightened perception in body changes is psychologically as life threatening leading to recurrent panic attacks. This last sentence reads like an incomplete sentence too.

When an individual undergoes therapy for Panic Disorder, they are exposed to physical sensation of panic in a controlled and safe environment, and this gives the person a healthier way to cope. One might be asked to shake their head from side-to-side, hyperventilate. Such exercise causes sensations like those symptoms of panic. This exposure therapy gives the sufferer a sense of control over their panic. Medication should only be pursued in extreme cases, but should also be combined with therapy and lifestyle changes that address the cause of the Panic Disorder. Anti-depressants and Benzodiazepines are examples of medication that can be used to mitigate the symptoms that accompany Panic Disorder, on a short-term basis.

Social Anxiety Disorder is also known as Social Phobia, and is characterized by intense fear of public embarrassment, scrutiny, humiliation, and social interaction. Its symptoms include: blushing, difficulty in speaking, sweating, and difficulty in breathing. In severe, cases it can lead to total social isolation. The sufferer often tries to avoid the source of anxiety, just like all phobic disorders. The perception that one may be publicly scrutinized causing embarrassment or humiliation may often lead to a persistent fear of social situations. This criterion of diagnosis is mainly used to determine whether one is suffering from Social Anxiety Disorder. Its symptoms mimic that of other disorders. Social anxiety can be experienced in other disorders, for example, Depression and Substance Abuse.

Psychotherapy is a form of treatment that will assist the sufferer with recognizing negative thoughts about themselves. Cognitive types of counseling places the onus of responsibility of thought pattern on the individual thus determining the way they react in unwanted situations. Reword this sentence. Exposure therapy may also be used to improve the skills of coping with anxiety inducing situations thus increasing confidence to face them. Selective serotonin inhibitors are the first medication tried for severe symptom of social anxiety. How do you know this?

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD, is an anxiety disorder that is caused by traumatic experience. This kind of disorder can result from extreme situations for example: child abuse, a hostage situation, or a serious automobile accident. A number of treatments that can be used to treat PTSD are cognitive behavioral therapy or support from loved ones. Before any treatment and diagnosis is made for a patient with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, the symptoms significantly disrupt normal activities, lasting for more than one month. The most common catalysts of this disorder include: substance abuse, alcohol abuse, and depression. Re- experiencing the trauma and heightened avoidance of activities that lead to the trauma are some of the diagnosis identified with PTSD.

Psychotherapy assists the sufferer in exploring their thoughts and feelings with regard to the trauma, by working through feelings of mistrust, guilt, and self blame. These enhance the individual activities to control and cope with intrusive memories. By addressing problems in the patient’s life and relationships, healing can be achieved. Anti-depressants such as Prozac are sometimes prescribed to relieve secondary symptoms like depression and anxiety.

A feeling of excessive level of anxiety causes Separation Anxiety by being separated from a partner, parent, or place. This anxiety can greatly affect the children in case of a separation in marriage as the are not directly involve in the conflict, it can also greatly affect someone who is attached to specific place for it will take time for one to build new relationship, familiarize with the culture and environment.

The diagnosis of Separation Anxiety causes excessive distress when the diagnosed individual is removed from their attachment figures. Persistence and excessive worry can cause possible harm to the attachment figures. To some, it may cause refusal to do daily routines in fair of separation. It may also cause eating disorders.Separation anxiety disorder can be treated by anti-anxiety medication, changing parenting methods, and counseling. Treatment for severe cases may also include family education, family therapy, and individual psychotherapy.

Works Cited

The post Anxiety Disorders: Diagnosis and Treatment appeared first on Nursing Essays Center.

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