Term Paper: Anxiety Disorders

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Anxiety Disorders

Studies showed that one out of 8 Americans between the ages of 18 and 54, or more than 19 million Americans, suffer from some form of anxiety disorder (National Institute of Anxiety and Stress, Inc. 2005). Anxiety disorders are the most common mental ailment in the U.S., more common than depression. Anxiety is also the most common health issue among those over 65 years old, who see an average of five doctors before the condition is successfully diagnosed. Until then, it costs the U.S. $46.6 billion a year. Women, more than men, suffer from anxiety and stress at twice the rate (NIASI).

Anxiety is said to be a subjective experience of threat that stimulates a stress response from a person (Frazier 2002). The stress response is often other subjective feelings that produce apprehension, uncertainty, uneasiness, dread and worry. Mild anxiety produces a sharper awareness of the surroundings and one's current situation and leads the person to deal with the stressor. Strong anxiety, on the other hand, changes his or her cognitive perception and function and often leads to hyper-vigilance, distraction, decreased ability to concentrate, altered memory and confusion.

Anxiety can activate the sympathetic nervous system and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal systems (Frazier 2002). It produces a host of physiological responses, like increased oxygen use or hyperventilation, decreased immune response, and changed coagulation and autonomic tone. The likelihood of severe stress and of death has been observed in those already suffering from acute myocardial infarction and heart failure.

The different types of anxiety and their incidence or distribution are specific anxiety, 6.3% social, 5.3%; posttraumatic stress disorder, 5.2%; generalized anxiety, 4%; obsessive-compulsive anxiety disorder, 3.3%; agoraphobia, 3.2%; and panic disorder, 2.4% (National Institute of Anxiety and Stress, Inc. 2005). The main types are panic attacks and agoraphobia. A panic attack is an episode of intense fear and discomfort and symptoms, which usually peak within 10 minutes, and characterized by palpitations, sweating, trembling, shortness of breath and a sense of being smothered, choking, chest or abdominal discomfort, dizziness, a sense of unreality, fear of losing control of one's sanity, fear of dying, numbness and chills or hot flushes. Agoraphobia is the fear of being in particular places, persons or situations, which create or induce embarrassment or difficulty and which the sufferer avoids or tends to avoid. Panic attack or disorder may or many not be accompanied by agoraphobia and statistics show that more than 95% of those suffering from agoraphobia have a history of panic disorder. Anxiety can also be triggered by specific objects of phobia, such as animals, something in the natural environment, blood injection injury, situations, and other objects. Social phobia is, however, one of the two most common types. It is stimulated by specific social or performance situations, such as social gatherings, competitions, stage performance or appearance or business meetings. Obsessive-compulsive disorder, when severe, can be time or energy-consuming, distressing and annoying because the repetitive act interferes with a person's normal functioning. Posttraumatic stress disorder derives from dreams, flashbacks and other stressing recollection of painful events. Acute stress disorder occurs between two days and four weeks, while generalized anxiety lasts beyond six months. Anxiety may also be due to a general medical condition, such as endocrinal, cardiovascular, respiratory or metabolic; some substances, such as drugs or toxins; or something else that has remained un-diagnosed (NIASI).

Part 2 - Nursing Care Plan suitable nursing care plan for anxiety patients in the hospital setting should, first of all, observe standards for the safe, thoroughly planned and effective delivery of that care (Greenwood 1996). Nursing, being both interdisciplinary and intra-disciplinary, a care plan must enable the sharing of information among staff members to insure patient safety and continued care. And it should be both holistic and individualized. If it is not individualized, it can be mechanical, generalized and routine only (Greenwood).

The plan consists of restructured formats and tools, knowledge of the nursing process, documentation schedule, and accessibility (Greenwood 1996). In addition to routine and schedules of the traditional patient care plan is a three-column page for nursing diagnosis, goals and plans. The content of the written care plan must be accurate and complete. The most commonly used systems are the North American Nursing Diagnosis or NANDA diagnoses, but the suitable nursing plan should… [END OF PREVIEW]

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