What are Anxiety Disorders and what do I do? – Mental Health Videos with Kati Morton
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illnesses, affecting 19 million children and adults in the U.S., reports the Anxiety Disorders Association of America (ADAA).
ADAA also reports that the ailment consumes almost a third of the total 8 billion total mental health bill for the nation. That’s not surprising, given people with anxiety disorder are three to five times more likely to go to the doctor, and six times more likely than non-sufferers to be hospitalized for psychiatric ailments.
Although anxiety disorder describes a group of illnesses such as generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and phobias, there are some symptoms that characterize the illness as a whole.
According to the American Psychiatric Association, when people suffering from anxiety disorders talk about their condition, they often include these descriptions:
Unrealistic or excessive worry
Exaggerated startled reactions
Lump in throat
Racing or pounding heart
In the workplace, these symptoms could translate into difficulty working with colleagues and clients, trouble concentrating, preoccupation over the fear instead of focusing on work, and turning down assignments because of fear of failure, flying, going in to the elevator, or public speaking.
For people who think they might have anxiety disorder, Jeffrey P. Kahn, MD, a clinical psychiatrist and author of Mental Health and Productivity in the Workplace, recommends the following first steps of action:
Talk about the problem with someone you feel comfortable with. Also ask that person what he or she notices about you.
Take a break from your worry by playing sports, listening to music, praying, or meditating.
Join a self-help group.
If talking about the problem or relaxation techniques don’t work, seek professional consultation.
Anxiety disorder is an umbrella term that covers several different forms of a type of common psychiatric disorder characterized by excessive rumination, worrying, uneasiness, apprehension and fear about future uncertainties either based on real or imagined events, which may affect both physical and psychological health.
There are numerous psychiatric and medical syndromes which may mimic the symptoms of an anxiety disorder such as hyperthyroidism which may be misdiagnosed as generalized anxiety disorder.
Individuals diagnosed with an anxiety disorder may be classified in one of two categories; based on whether they experience continuous or episodic symptoms.
Current psychiatric diagnostic criteria recognize a wide variety of anxiety disorders. Recent surveys have found that as many as 18% of Americans and 14% of Europeans may be affected by one or more of them.
The term anxiety covers four aspects of experiences an individual may have: mental apprehension, physical tension, physical symptoms and dissociative anxiety.Anxiety disorder is divided into generalized anxiety disorder, phobic disorder, and panic disorder; each has its own characteristics and symptoms and they require different treatment (Gelder et al. 2005). The emotions present in anxiety disorders range from simple nervousness to bouts of terror (Barker 2003).
Standardized screening clinical questionnaires such as the Taylor Manifest Anxiety Scale or the Zung Self-Rating Anxiety Scale can be used to detect anxiety symptoms, and suggest the need for a formal diagnostic assessment of anxiety disorder.
Kati Morton, MFTI
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