Anxiety Disorder And The Brain Essay

1557 words - 6 pages

Anxiety Disorder and the BrainAs defined by the Encyclopedia of Mental Health; Anxiety is an abnormal and overwhelming sense of apprehension and fear often marked by physiological signs (sweating, tension, and increased pulse) by doubt concerning the reality and nature of the threat, and by self-doubt about one's capacity to cope. Anxiety is a very broad term that encompasses many different disorders. In researching this illness, I have found that terms like phobia, fear, generalized anxiety, social anxiety, panic and depression are often used as synonyms or in combination with one another. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder, Fourth Edition (DMS-IV), outlines seven categories of anxiety disorders. The seven disorders are ; Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Panic Disorder, Social Phobia, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Specific Phobia. (EMH pg129). For as prevalent as this disorder may be, affecting 23 million people, there is limited research on the affect anxiety has on the brain. It appears that that limbic system and autonomic systems are primarily affected. I will define the different forms of anxiety as listed, present findings from studies performed on animals and humans and discuss current practices used to mediate anxiety.The following is a brief description of the seven disorders previously listed, as defined the Public Health Reports (July/Aug 1996).Sherod 2Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder- repeated, intrusive, and unwanted thoughts that cause anxiety, often accompanied by ritualized behavior to relieve anxiety.Panic Disorder- characterized by panic attacks, sudden feeling of terror that strike repeatedly and without warning. Physical symptoms include chest pain, heart palpitations, and shortness of breath, dizziness or abdominal stress.Social Phobia- fear of being the focus of attention or scrutiny or of doing something that will be intensely humiliating.Posttraumatic Disorder- persistent, frightening thoughts that occur after undergoing a frightening and traumatic event.Generalized Anxiety Disorder- chronic or exaggerated worry and tension; almost always anticipating disaster even though nothing seems to provoke it. Worrying is often accompanied by physical symptoms, like trembling, muscle tension, headache and nausea.Specific Phobia- fear of a specific objects or situations such as flying, heights and animals.Anxiety is so common that there is a good chance that an individual either knows someone with an anxiety disorder, or they might suffer from this illness themselves. I have someone very close to me that battles anxiety on a daily basis. I have seen first hand the limitations this illness causes and the pain and suffering this causes, not only to those affected, but to those close to them as well. As an observer, the most difficult aspect for me to understand was that the person needs to help themselves. Without that desire, there is very little an outsider can due to alleviate the...

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