Anxiety disorders are a group of mental health problems that affects about 40 million adult Americans. At some point in life, at least one in four people have an anxiety disorder that will potentially require treatment. Anxiety disorders differ from person to person: while some people have less severe anxieties, like fear of snakes or spiders that do not require treatment, other people have severe anxieties that they do need to treat. This paper will discuss disorders, classifications, diagnosis and treatment of anxiety disorders (ADs).
Types of Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety disorders are classified into the following;
Panic disorder is classified as a real sickness characterized by sudden terror attacks accompanied by weakness, faintness, sweatiness, and dizziness. During the attacks, people affected by the condition feel cold, while their hands get numb or may be tingling; they may be experiencing nausea and pain, especially in the chest or some sensations. Panic attacks produce a deceitful sense of reality and the fear of losing control (National Institute of Mental Health).
People with this kind of condition believe that they suffer from heart attacks, can lose their minds or are on the verge of dying. They affected people are unable to predict when or where the next attack can occur. Panic attacks occur anytime, even while asleep, and last for about 10 minutes or sometimes more. The condition affects about 6 million American adults and is very common in women than men and begins in late adolescence. The condition begins as a panic attack, although not all panic attacks lead to panic disorders. The tendency to have a panic attack is linked to inheritance.
Panic disorder is one of the most curable of all other disorders and early treatment of condition is recommended to avoid agrophobia. The condition responds well to most medication or to cognitive psychotherapy. Treatment generally is to help the patient change thinking patterns that leads to fear and later – anxiety. Other conditions like depression, alcohol abuse can be treated separately (National Institute of Mental Health).
Obsession-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
This is a condition characterized by persistent upsetting obsessions (thoughts) and the use of rituals (compulsions) to control the anxiety produced by the thoughts. Usually the compulsions end up controlling the patients (Dr. Mulholland). An example is a person who is obsessed with dirt, he/she develops a compulsion to wash hands every now and then, while if it is for intruders, they may be locking and unlocking the door several times before going to sleep. Overdoing such compulsions is not a pleasurable idea although it produces a temporal relief from the obsessive thoughts.
OCD affects about 2.2 million American adults. The problem then may be accompanied by other anxiety disorders or result into a depression and can appear in childhood, adolescences or early adulthood. Research shows that OCD may run in some families. COD symptoms vary over time but if severe the condition can keep one from carrying out normal duties either at home or work. Luckily, OCD responds well to treatment with use of certain medicines and psychotherapy in which relaxes the patient and become less sensitive (National Institute of Mental Health).
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
PTSD is an anxiety that develops after a certain terrifying event like a physical harm or a threat, or by witnessing a harmful event. PTSD results from a variety of traumatic events like torture, rape, mugging, being kidnapped, or natural terrifying events like tsunamis or floods. People with the condition relieve the disturbance in their thoughts or as nightmares, when asleep in what is called flashbacks. These flashbacks consist of images, feelings, smell or sounds by these occurrences. These flashbacks may make a person lose touch with reality and have the feeling that the incident is happening all over again (National Institute of Mental Health).
Symptoms begin three months after the incident happened and may emerge years afterwards. Different affected people have varying PSTD while others do not develop even a minor PSTD. Some people may recover within a short period while others may take longer but in some people, the condition becomes chronic. The condition may be accompanied by depression, substance abuse or result into more other anxiety disorders.
PSTD affects about 7.7 million adult Americans, but the condition can affect any person of any age, and women are known to more likely to develop the condition than men, although evidence suggests that susceptibility may run in families. Certain kinds of medicine and psychotherapy are known to treat PSTD symptoms effectively.