Anxiety Disorders

Examining anxiety disorders, their effects and treatment available.

Anxiety disorders are a varied and complicated set of physical and psychological problems that affect more than twenty million Americans. This paper examines these disorders, which include general anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorders, and phobias. It shows how these can often exert a disabling influence upon the individual’s life, and disrupt his or her personal and social interactions. Treatments are discussed which focus upon helping the individual to identify and understand the irrationality of their anxiety, and to assist them in facing up to their fears.
Anxiety is, one of the main motivating forces in much of human behavior (Beck & Emery, 1985, p. 13), and is a normal reaction to a threatening object or situation. It produces a wide range of physiological and psychological effects that are often described as preparing the body for primitive fight or flight. These symptoms result from the increased amount of adrenaline that is produced by the sympathetic nervous system, which causes an increase in the heart and respiration rate, the raising of blood pressure, and the contraction of blood vessels in the skin and intestines as blood is diverted to the heart, lungs and muscles (P.H.R., 1997). Although these reactions are appropriate when faced with incidents of threat or danger, if this level of anxiety continues after the threat has been removed, or if no real threat exists, these physical and psychological symptoms can lead to the development of anxiety disorders.