Evaluation of Axiety Disorders

Generalised Anxiety Disorder(GAD)


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. CBT also teaches you to test the beliefs you have about worry itself, such as “Worry is uncontrollable” or “If I worry, bad things are less likely to happen.”

Behavioral strategies. Instead of avoiding situations you fear, CBT teaches you to tackle them head on. You may start by imagining the thing you’re most afraid of. By focusing on your fears without trying to avoid or escape them, you will begin to feel more in control and less anxious. Time management and problem-solving skills are also effective behavioral techniques for GAD.

Possible Causes

The cause is not clear. The condition often develops for no apparent reason. Various factors may play a part. For example:

Your genetic makeup may be important. Some people have a tendency to have an 'anxious personality' which can run in families.

Childhood traumas such as abuse, or death of a parent, may make you more prone to anxiety when you become older.

A major stress in life may 'trigger' the condition. For example, a family crisis. But the symptoms then persist when any 'trigger' has gone. Common minor stresses in life, which you may otherwise have easily coped with, may then keep the symptoms going once the condition has been 'triggered'.

Some people who have other mental health problems such as depression or schizophrenia may also develop GAD.





Often anxiety gets generalized to other situations, and can then become overwhelming or associated with life in general. Typically GAD develops over a period of time and may not be noticed until it is significant enough to cause problems with functioning.



As its name implies, GAD is evidenced by general feelings of anxiety such as mild heart palpitations, dizziness, and excessive worry. The symptoms are difficult to control for the individual and are not related to a specific event (such as in PTSD) and are not as severe as those found with Panic Disorder.



Medication and/or psychotherapy have been found to be helpful, especially therapy aimed at teaching the client how to gain control over the symptoms.



Prognosis is good for the more extreme symptoms, but those associated with underlying fears are more difficult to treat (such as excessive worry). Working through childhood issues can be helpful as these tend to get distorted as they follow us into adulthood (e.g., over-controlling parental styles, sexual abuse, childhood phobias).

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder


The symptoms of PTSD will manifest themselves within 6 months of an extremely traumatic or stressful event. The event can be anything from military service, road traffic accidents or rape, as long as it presents a real threat of physical harm or death.

Symptoms of the episode may include having flashbacks or nightmares of the event. These experiences can be extremely life like and anything related to the event may trigger the flashback.

Avoidance or numbing is also a sign. You could either avoid the topic, getting absorbed in a hobby for example or your job, or emotionally numbing youself from the world.

Hypervigilance can also be a symptom of PTSD, always being on gaurd and looking out for danger. The person can find it hard to sleep or become irritable

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Treatment or Prognosis

There are both physical and psychological treatments for PTSD. Some of them are outlined below:

Trauma-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy for PTSD involves gradually “exposing” yourself to thoughts, feelings, and situations that remind you of the trauma. Therapy also involves identifying upsetting thoughts about the traumatic event, particularly thoughts that are irrational and replacing them with more balanced picture.

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing)

 EMDR mixes aspects of cognitive-behavioral therapy with eye movements and other forms of rhythmic or left-right stimulation, such as handtapping or sounds. Eye movements and other bilateral forms of stimulation are ...

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