Anxiety Disorders Essay examples

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Anxiety Disorders
Jennie Banks
August 21, 2011

Anxiety disorders affect people from all over the world and are actually the most common mental disorder. The main types of anxiety that will be discussed in this paper are as follows: specific phobias; panic disorder; generalized anxiety disorder; and obsessive-compulsive disorder. This paper will cover the previous types of anxiety disorders and different treatment methods currently used for people who suffer from them. (Maisto & Morris, 2004) The first anxiety disorder is specific phobia. A specific phobia is an anxiety order that is characterized by intense and paralyzing fear of something. An example would be arachnophobia, a fear of spiders, and acrophobia which is a fear of heights. It is normal for a person to feel some fear with certain situations but it is not normal for a person to be so afraid of something that they cannot function. (Maisto & Morris, 2004) Social phobia is another form of an anxiety disorder. Social phobia is characterized by excessive, inappropriate fears connected with social situations or performances in front of other people. It is normal for a person to have some fear of some social situations but it is not normal for this fear to interfere with a person’s normal life functioning. (Maisto & Morris, 2004) Panic disorders are another type of anxiety disorder and are characterized by recurrent panic attacks. When a person experiences a panic attack they may feel a sudden, unpredictable, and overwhelming experience of intense fear or terror without any reasonable cause. The symptoms that a person may experience during a panic attack include dizziness, chest pain, feelings of doom, fainting, sweating, difficulty breathing, and a fear of dying or losing control. Usually panic attacks only last a few minutes but the person may experience attacks without any apparent reason. Panic attacks cause fear while the person is having one and often the person dreads having another attack which may last from a few days to as long as a few weeks. In some cases, the fear of having another attack can actually lead a person to develop agoraphobia which was discusses earlier in the paper. This type of agoraphobia develops because of the person’s attempt to avoid future panic attacks. (Maisto & Morris, 2004) Some other types of anxiety disorders include generalized anxiety disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Generalized anxiety disorder is a form of anxiety that is not attached to a certain fear. It is defined as prolonged vague but intense fear. The symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder include the inability to relax, feeling restless, muscle tension, rapid heartbeat, apprehensiveness about the future, hyper vigilance, and sleeping difficulties. Some research indicates that generalized anxiety disorders and major depressive disorder may share a genetic basis. (Maisto & Morris, 2004) Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder that causes a person to feel driven to think disturbing thoughts and/or to perform senseless rituals. The obsessive thoughts that a person experiences are often very disturbing in nature. The compulsive acts that a person performs may be an attempt to “wash away” the obsessive thoughts that they are having. If a person or someone else tries to stop their obsessive-compulsive behavior they often experience severe anxiety from it. (Maisto & Morris, 2004) Behavior therapy is one method of