Essay - Anxiety Disorders Abstract Anxiety Disorders are a Varied and Complicated...

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Anxiety Disorders


Anxiety disorders are a varied and complicated set of physical and psychological problems that affect more than twenty million Americans. The disorders, which include general anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorders, and phobias, can *****ten exert a disabling influence upon the individual's life, and disrupt his or her personal ***** social interactions. Treatments focus upon helping the individual to identify and understand the irrationality of their anxiety, and to assist them in facing up to their fears.


Anxiety is, "one of the main motivating forces in much of human behavior" (Beck & Emery, 1985, p. 13), ***** is a norm*****l reaction to a thre*****tening object or situation. It produces a wide range of physiological and psychological effects that ***** *****ten described as preparing the body for primitive 'fight or flight'. *****se symptoms result from the increased amount of adrenaline that is produced by the sympathetic nervous system, which causes an increase in the heart and respiration rate, the ra*****ing of blood pressure, and the contraction of ***** vessels in the sk***** and intestines as blood is diverted to the heart, lungs and muscles (P.H.R., 1997). Although *****se *****s are appropriate when faced with incidents of threat or danger, if this level ***** anxiety continues after the threat has been removed, or ***** no real threat exists, these physical and psychological symptoms can lead to the development of anxiety dis*****ders.

Anxiety *****

Anxiety disorders are ***** as," various combinations of physical and mental manifestations ***** anxiety, *****t attributable to real danger, ***** occurring either in attacks or as a persisting state" (Sainsbury, 1980, p. 215). Anxiety ***** affect over 20 million Americans, almost half of whom suffer from its most common condition, general anxiety disorder (GAD), the other ***** disorders being ********** attacks (panic disorder), and phobias. (P.H.R., *****).

General anxiety disorder (*****).

Studies show that GAD affects between two ***** five percent of the population, and is considered to account for al***** a third ***** *****ll psychiatric consultations (P.H.R., 1997). GAD may have an acute onset and appear severe in intensity, or it may occur in a chronic *****m, w*****h the severity fluctu*****ting with in relation to stress factors. Th***** form of anxiety is described as 'free-float*****g, or diffuse, as it is not associated w*****h any specific ***** or object, ***** it causes sufferers to experience a continu*****l feeling of concern and tension. Somatic symp*****ms of GAD include difficulty in sleeping; ligh*****adedness or sh*****tness of breath; palpitations; excessive sweating; pallor; and digestive *****. As a *****, many sufferers ***** ***** tend to feel tired, have trouble concentrating, ***** sometimes suffer from depression (Sainsbury, 1980). GAD affects people of both sexes and all ages and, although it is diagnosed more frequently in women ***** ***** men, this statistic is misleading as only a quarter of GAD sufferers seek professional treatment (P.H.R., 1997).

Panic attacks.

A ***** attack is characterized ***** unpredictable attacks of severe anxiety that involve symptoms ***** are ***** related to any particular situation or object.


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