Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety Disorders
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What Is Anxiety?

It is an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts and physical changes like increased blood pressure.

Anxiety is a normal and often healthy emotion. However, when a person regularly feels disproportionate levels of anxiety, it might become a medical disorder.

Fear is response to immediate threat while Anxiety is apprehension about a future threat

Classification of Major Anxiety disorders?

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorders(GAD)
  • Panic disorders
  • Phobic disorders(specific and social)
  • Post-traumatic stress disorders(PTSD)
  • Acute stress disorders
  • Obsessive compulsive disorders(OCD)

What are the symptoms of Anxiety?

  • Dry mouth
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Palpitations
  • Restless, tremor
  • Diarrhea, vomiting and other gastrointestinal discomfort
  • Headache, poor concentration
  • Insomnia
  • Chest pain

Generalized Anxiety disorders (GAD)

  • It is diagnosed when an individual experiences unrealistic or excessive anxiety for a period of atleast 6 months
  • The individual must have difficulty in controlling that anxiety or worry with symptoms of feeling tense or restless, easily fatigued, difficulty concentrating, irritability and difficulty with sleep

Risk Factors

Factors that may increase risk of GAD include

  • Family members with an anxiety disorder
  • Increase in stress
  • Exposure to physical or emotional trauma
  • Unemployment, poverty
  • Drug abuse

Panic Disorder

It is defined as a period of intense fear with recurrent and unpredictable attacks and symptoms that develop and peak within 10 mins:

  • Palpitations
  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Trembling
  • Fear of dying
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chills or hot flushes
  • Feeling of choking
  • Chest pain or discomfort

Phobic disorders

  • Specific phobia is any marked or persistent fear ( > 6 months ) related to exposure to specific objects
  • Social phobia is fear of social situations where you may be embarrassed or judged
  • Agoraphobia is fear of places or situations that might cause you to panic and make you feel trapped, helpless

Post-Traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Exposure to actual or threatened death, serious or sexual violence in one of the following ways:

  • Direct experiencing of traumatic events
  • Witnessed in person the events as it occurred to others
  • Learning the traumatic events occurred to person close to them
  • Experiencing repeated or extreme exposure to aversive details of trauma

Symptoms begin early within 3 months of traumatic event and symptoms must last more than a month

Acute stress Disorder

  • Similar exposure as in PTSD
  • Presence of avoidance, negative mood and arousal related to the trauma
  • Duration of disturbance is 3 days to 1 month after trauma
  • Causes significant impairment

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

  • It is characterized by obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors that impair everyday functioning
  • Fears of contamination and germs are common like hand washing, counting behaviors and having to check and recheck the actions like whether a door is closed

General treatment options

  • Medications
  1. Antidepressants
  2. Anxiolytics(for anxiety)
  3. Antipsychotics
  4. Mood stabilizers
  • Supportive treatment, psychotherapy (counseling)-Cognitive behavior Therapy
  • Sedative hypnotics for Insomnia and symptoms of increased arousal

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