Anxiety disorder is a psychological problem in individuals who are known to worry too much and have fears that are unrealistic. These disorders have been known to cause diverse psychological and physical damage.
The classifications of anxiety disorder include the phobias, the generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, agoraphobia, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, separation anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Each of these disorders has different symptoms and treatment procedures.Research indicates that diagnosis of the disorders may be difficult since the symptoms overlap with other common ailments. However, various treatment interventions exist.
The use of cognitive-behavioural therapy such as the use of talk therapy is very effective. The therapist tries to unearth the causes of such anxieties and fears and helps the patient realize that it was exaggerated and unrealistic.
The use of medication such as the SSRIs is also effective. However, some have adverse side effects.
I. What is the diagnosis of anxiety disorder?
II. What treatment interventions are available for anxiety disorder?
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) provides information about anxiety disorder as it relates to the course, Abnormal Psychology (Butcher, Mineria, & Hooley, 2007).
It has been defined as the various forms of the psychiatric disorders that involve the repetitive focus on symptoms of distress, worrying, being uneasy and worrying about what will happen in the future.
This fear about what the future holds may be based on facts or imaginary things. There are other medical conditions that may imitate and be misdiagnosed as anxiety disorder. One of them includes hyperthyroidism.
This disorder is unhealthy to any human since it may negatively affect the psychological and physical health of the individual. Anxiety disorder is like a disease that requires proper diagnosis and prompt treatment.
There are several psychosocial causes of this disorder. Some causes are genetic by nature. The persons who have been diagnosed with the disorder may be classified into two groups.
The first classification is the group of individuals who are experiencing continuous symptoms. The other classification consists of individuals whose symptoms only seem to occur episodically.
According to research, there are several types of anxiety disorders. Research also indicates that at least one of the disorders affects about 20% of Americans and approximately 15% of Europeans (Kessler, Chiu, Demler, Merikangas, & Walters, 2005).
When one is said to be anxious, the individual may be going through one or more of the four experiences. These include dissociative anxiety, tension, apprehension or certain physical signs.
Anxiety disorder may be divided into three broad categories. They include panic, phobic and generalized anxiety disorders. All of these disorders have their different symptoms and each requires a different intervention (Gelder, Mayou, & Geddes, 2005).
The individual suffering from an anxiety disorder experiences diverse emotions of different capacities. Some may experience simple nervousness (Barker, 2003).
However, others may have bouts of terror. This paper will examine the Axis 1 diagnosis of Anxiety Disorder and assess some of the available therapies and medication.
Diagnosis of Anxiety disorder
In most cases, the terms anxiety and fear are used to mean the same thing. However, clinically, the two words have two distinct meanings. The term anxiety is used to mean the uncomfortable state of mind whose cause is not known and is thought to be beyond the individual’s control.
On the other hand, the term fear is the way in which an individual responds in the presence of a known threat. Anxiety disorder involves the presence of both fear and anxiety.
Nurses and medical practitioners use different methods to diagnose anxiety disorder. These tools usually detect the anxiety symptoms. One of these tools includes the Taylor Manifest Anxiety Scale.
In some areas, the Zung Self-Rating Anxiety Scale is used. The individual suffering from this disorder requires undergoing physical and medical examination and their personal history examined.
This may be necessary in order to ensure that the individual is not suffering from unrelated ailments. In children, it may be difficult to diagnose the condition because it usually causes disruptive behaviours, which may be misdiagnosed as attention-deficit hyperactivity or other similar disorders.
Anxiety disorders may be put into different classifications, each with different symptoms and diagnoses.
The classifications include the generalized anxiety disorder, phobic disorder, panic disorder, agoraphobia, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and separation disorder (American Psychiatric Association [APA], (2000).
A person suffering from generalized anxiety disorder normally worries a lot and may be excessively anxious.
This anxiety and worrying may be about things such as employment or school performance. The individual would normally find it difficult controlling these feelings.
Some physical symptoms include irritability, fatigue, sleep disorder and muscle tension. Individuals suffering from an anxiety disorder would have distress and their social and occupational skills would be impaired.
Phobias are triggered by particular stimulus and situations. This is usually a fear of something and it is usually exaggerated since the potential danger of the fear may be minimal.
For example, others fear insects such as the butterfly. Panic disorder may cause a brief attack of great terror. The individual may start shaking and trembling. Others appear confused. Others have difficulty in breathing during such occasions.
Agoraphobia is the situation where an individual feels cornered and has no place for escape. Such a person would constantly watch around in search of a place of refuge or escape. Social anxiety disorder is a disorder that has to do with social behaviour in public areas.
Such individuals usually fear and avoid being negatively scrutinized by the public. They also avoid public embarrassment and humiliation.
Such individuals usually avoid social interactions due to these fears. Manifestations of this disorder include blushing. Some have difficulty speaking.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a situation where one is repetitively obsessed about something that makes the person to feel like performing certain activities or rituals. Research estimates that about 3% of people in the world are affected by this disorder.
Post-traumatic stress disorder may occur when one passes through a frightening experience. Examples of traumatizing experiences include natural disasters, rape, being in a hostage situation, bullying or accidents, among other similar situations.
Such individuals are hyper-vigilant and usually show certain avoidance behaviours. Anger, depression and anger are other symptoms that need to be observed during diagnosis (American Psychiatric Association [APA], (2000).
Anxiety disorder is also usually associated with other mental disorders and some occur to as many as 60% of all individuals with the disorder. Such disorders include clinical depression.
The symptoms of depression and anxiety are similar in many respects and similar environmental conditions may lead to symptoms in both cases. They may even overlap and this explains why both of these medical conditions may coexist. It has also been argued that sexual dysfunction may be a result of anxiety disorder.
When this occurs in men, some tend to avoid sexual intercourse all together. Some may show signs such as premature ejaculation or erectile dysfunction. In women, these conditions may cause pain during intercourse.
It is mainly common among those affected by posttraumatic stress disorder and panic disorder. There is the fear of the possibility of panic attack occurring during arousal.
Treatment of Anxiety Disorder
Research has shown that early diagnosis and treatment of anxiety disorder is most beneficial (Barker, 2003). The condition may remain unrecognized during most of the stages. If some symptoms are present, the condition may be under-recognized.
In most cases, victims show up for treatment after complications have shown. Such complications include depression and drug abuse. There are a number of treatment options that are available.
One of them includes lifestyle change. Psychotherapy may be provided to the victim. In particular, cognitive behavioural therapy is useful. Pharmaceutical therapy is also available and effective.
Other types of therapies that may be used include humanistic-experiential therapy, behavioural therapy and psychodynamic-therapy.
In psychotherapy, talk therapy has been said to be an efficient way of treating individuals with anxiety disorder. This involves having conversations between the patient and the therapist in order to help the patient to ease their anxiety.
These talks help the patient to air out some of his or her fears, stresses and anxieties to the therapist. During the session, the therapist would educate the client, help in solving the issue, and ensure healing. These sessions may go for short periods or they may be lengthy.
Research has shown that talk therapy and other forms of cognitive-behavioural therapy are very effective for such disorders as phobias and panic disorder. This therapy consists of two main objectives. These include fostering behavioural and cognitive change.
Cognitive change could be achieved by helping the clients to see that it is not obvious that the public is always watching and judging them.
Fostering behavioural change may be done through trying to change the way those people react to situation that might provoke anxiety. These people are provided with proof that such thoughts are not realistic in the real world.
The use of medication may also be useful for persons suffering from an anxiety disorder. One of the recommended types includes the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).
Side effects may include nausea and headache, among others. However, these effects only occur during the first few weeks of use. Thereafter, the body adjusts to the medication.
The atypical antipsychotic quetiapine has also been used effectively in the treatment of anxiety disorder. However, its side effects surpass those associated with SSRIs.
Anxiety disorder is a psychological disorder that is associated with various behaviours and thought patterns that are not usual. The persons suffering from this disorder may worry too much or have fears and anxieties.
It may be further classified into panic disorder, phobic disorders and generalized anxiety disorder. All these disorders have different symptoms, which require different interventions.
Early diagnosis of anxiety disorder is important since it could be treated before it reaches advanced stages. However, it is difficult to diagnose other disorders early enough and this would require extra attention at later stages. Treatment is available for anxiety disorder.
The two major types include therapy and medication. Cognitive-behavioural therapy is effective for such cases. This includes the use of talk therapy, which seeks to change the patient’s way of thinking. Drugs such as the SSRIs have also been used successfully and are recommended.
American Psychiatric Association [APA]. (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorder: DSM-IV-TR. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.
Barker, P. (2003). Psychiatric and mental health nursing: the craft of caring. London: Arnold.
Butcher, J.N., Mineria, S., & Hooley, J. (2007). Abnormal Psychology (15th ed.). New Jersey: Pearson Education.
Gelder, M., Mayou, R., & Geddes, J. Psychiatry. (2005). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Kessler, R.C., Chiu, W.T., Demler, O., Merikangas, K.R., & Walters, E.E. (2005). Prevalence, severity, and comorbidity of 12-month DSM-IV disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication. Arch. Gen. Psychiatry, 62(6), 617–627.