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 *****s, and phobias, can often exert a disabling influence upon the individual's life, and disrupt his or her personal ***** social interactions. Treatments focus ***** helping the individual to identify and understand the irrationality of their anxiety, and to assist them in facing up to ***** fears.


Anxiety is, "one of the main motivating forces in much of human behavior" (Beck & Emery, 1985, p. 13), ***** ***** a normal reaction to a thre*****tening object or situation. It *****roduces 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 ***** respiration rate, ***** ra*****ing of blood pressure, and the contraction of blood vessels in the skin and intestines as blood is diverted to the heart, lungs and muscles (P.H.R., 1997). Although these *****s are appropriate when faced with incidents of threat ***** danger, if t***** level of anxiety continues after the threat has been removed, or ***** no real threat exists, ***** physical and psychological symptoms ***** lead to the development of anxiety dis*****ders.

Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders ***** described as," various combinations of physical ***** mental manifestations of anxiety, not attributable to real danger, and occurring eit***** in attacks or as a persisting state" (Sainsbury, 1980, p. 215). Anxiety ***** ***** over 20 million Americans, almost half of whom suffer from its most common condition, ***** ***** disorder (GAD), the other anxiety disorders being ***** attacks (********** disorder), and phobi*****. (P.H.R., 1997).

General anxiety disorder (GAD).

Studies show that GAD affects between two ***** five percent of the population, and is considered to account for almost a third of *****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 form, ***** the sever*****y fluctuating with in relation to stress fac*****rs. Th***** form of anxiety is ***** as 'free-floating, or diffuse, as it is not associated w*****h any specific ***** or *****, and it causes sufferers to experience a continu*****l feeling of concern ***** tension. Somatic symptoms of GAD include difficulty in sleeping; ligh*****adedness ***** shortness of breath; palpitations; excessive sweating; pallor; and digestive *****. As a *****, many sufferers ***** GAD tend to feel tired, have trouble concentrating, and sometimes suffer from depression (Sainsbury, 1980). GAD affects people of both sexes and all ages *****, although it is diagnosed more frequently in women than in men, th***** statistic is misleading as only a quarter of GAD sufferers seek professional treat*****t (P.H.R., 1997).

Panic attacks.

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


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