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Anxiety Disorders

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Evaluation of Axiety Disorders Generalised Anxiety Disorder(GAD) Characteristics GAD is characterised by an excessive, irrational worry about everyday events, such as family members going to work or going out. This anxiety will manifest itself in fidgeting, fatigue, insomnia, sweating, difficulty swallowing or breathing, nausea or headaches, among others. To be diagnosed these symptoms must be consistent and ongoing for at least 6 months and must be interfering with the patients daily routine Treatment and Prognosis Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is one type of therapy that is particularly helpful in the treatment of GAD. Cognitive-behavioral therapy examines distortions in our ways of looking at the world and ourselves. Your therapist will help you identify automatic negative thoughts that contribute to your anxiety. For example, if you always imagining the worst possible outcome in any given situation you might challenge this tendency through questions such as, "What is the likelihood that this worst-case scenario will actually come true?" and "What are some positive outcomes that are more likely to happen?". Cognitive-behavioral therapy for GAD involves five components: Education. CBT involves learning about GAD. It also teaches you how to distinguish between helpful and unhelpful worry. An increased understanding of your anxiety encourages a more proactive response to it. Monitoring. In CBT for GAD, you learn to monitor your anxiety, including what triggers it, the specific things you worry about, and the severity and length of a particular episode. This helps you get perspective, as well as track your progress. Physical control strategies. Deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation help decrease the physical over-arousal of the "fight or flight" response that maintains the state of fear and anxiety. CBT for GAD trains you in these techniques. Cognitive control strategies. Through CBT, you learn to realistically evaluate and alter the thinking patterns that contribute to GAD. As you challenge these negative thoughts, your fears will begin to subside. ...read more.


Cognitive-behavioral therapy is based on the premise that what you think affects how you feel, and your feelings affect your behavior. So if you change the way you think about social situations that give you anxiety, you'll feel and function better. Cognitive-behavioral therapy for social phobia typically involves: * Learning how to control the physical symptoms of anxiety through relaxation techniques and breathing exercises. * Challenging negative, unhelpful thoughts that trigger and fuel social anxiety, replacing them with more balanced views. * Facing the social situations you fear in a gradual, systematic way, rather than avoiding them. Other cognitive-behavioral techniques for social anxiety disorder include role-playing and social skills training, often as part of a therapy group. Group therapy for social anxiety disorder uses acting, videotaping and observing, mock interviews, and other exercises to work on situations that make you anxious in the real world. As you practice and prepare for situations you're afraid of, you will become more and more comfortable and confident in your social abilities, and your anxiety will lessen. Causes There are three main underlying causes of social phobia that have been identified in most cases: * Heredity causes - In many cases individuals and children whose parents have social phobia tend to have social phobia too due to their similar genetic code, but this does not mean that disorder has to persist for life, it can be overcome with proper treatment especially at an early age. * Environmental Causes - When we are child we are very vulnerable to the environment in which we live, we acquire our values, behaviors and beliefs that in some cases are wrong. If a child lives in a family where they avoid social activities, where they don't let the child give his opinion or the parents are too protective then it can cause social phobia in the child. * Neurological causes - There are also many cases in which a chemical imbalance in the brain causes social phobia, this is due to the imbalanced distribution of serotonin in the brain cells. ...read more.


Obsessional thoughts are ideas, images, or impulses that enter the patient's mind again and again in a stereotyped form. They are almost invariably distressing and the patient often tries, unsuccessfully, to resist them. They are, however, recognized as his or her own thoughts, even though they are involuntary and often repugnant. Compulsive acts or rituals are stereotyped behaviours that are repeated again and again. They are not inherently enjoyable, nor do they result in the completion of inherently useful tasks. Their function is to prevent some objectively unlikely event, often involving harm to or caused by the patient, which he or she fears might otherwise occur. Usually, this behaviour is recognized by the patient as pointless or ineffectual and repeated attempts are made to resist. Anxiety is almost invariably present. If compulsive acts are resisted the anxiety gets worse. Includes: anankastic neurosis obsessive-compulsive neurosis DSM-IV Etiology Both biological and psychological causes have been found in OCD. Symptoms The key features of this disorder include obsessions (persistent, often irrational, and seemingly uncontrollable thoughts) and compulsions (actions which are used to neutralize the obsessions). A good example of this would be an individual who has thoughts that he is dirty, infected, or otherwise unclean which are persistent and uncontrollable. In order to feel better, he washes his hands numerous times throughout the day, gaining temporary relief from the thoughts each time. For these behaviors to constitute OCD, it must be disruptive to everyday functioning (such as compulsive checking before leaving the house making you extremely late for all or most appointments, washing to the point of excessive irritation of your skin, or inability to perform everyday functions like work or school because of the obsessions or compulsions). Treatment Medication is often prescribed for individuals with OCD. Psychotherapy can be helpful in learning ways to feel more in control, cope better with stressors, and explore the underlying issues associated with the obsessive thoughts. Prognosis Prognosis for this disorder has a wide range, depending upon how the individual responds to medication and how deep rooted the underlying issues are. Excludes: obsessive-compulsive personality (disorder) ...read more.

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