The findings of a door-to-door survey, of thousands of households across America, held over a period of two years, were released in 2005. The survey, guided by eminent Psychologists, aimed to discover the presence of anxiety, mood and substance disorders in the general population. The results showed that nearly 18% of people suffered from Anxiety Disorders. The study reveals that millions of people across the country are trying to cope with this disabling disorder.
A fair amount of anxiety is normal and it helps people deal with various challenges in their lives. For instance, anxiety about grades can help a student work harder, the fear of losing a job could help an individual perform better or prepare for it accordingly. Anxiety helps people take precautions against threatening situations. However, when anxiety is excessive, irrational and unreasonable, it can be debilitating and the individual could be suffering from an Anxiety Disorder.
The five major types of Anxiety Disorders
Over the last few decades, Psychiatrists have classified Anxiety Disorders into the following subtypes. There are five major types of Anxiety Disorders and they’re described here briefly.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD): Extended periods of severe anxiety, about problems that may or may not exist, characterize GAD. Patients often seem to worry about unlikely major disasters and also obsess over everyday issues like health, money and relationships. Their world view is overly negative and they suffer from exaggerated worries and tension.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD): Recurrent unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and repetitive behavior (compulsions) are the two major signs of OCD. Repetitive behavior includes repeated hand-washing, checking locks over and over again, switching lights on and off, among others. Patients also follow bizarre rituals to avoid unwanted thoughts. This form of Anxiety Disorder can have serious implications and often prevent patients from leading regular lives. A combination of therapy and medication is needed for treatment.
Panic Disorder: In this Disorder, patients experience episodes of panic attacks and fear, that also cause discomforting physical symptoms, like chest pain, breathlessness and palpitations. Because of its unpredictable nature, because panic attacks occur out of the blue, those suffering from it are under constant stress attempting to preempt the attacks. Often, Panic Disorder exists with Agoraphobia, which is the fear of public places.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: This is caused in response to an extremely traumatic incident, where the person’s safety or life was threatened. War veterans, victims of violent physical attacks, like rape or attempted murder, can suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. People suffering from this Disorder are often haunted by images of the incident, they experience problems with sleep and they feel emotionally numb. They are unable to relate to people they were very close to before the incident.
Social Phobia: Those suffering from Social Phobia, also known as, Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD), suffer from excessive anxiety and self-consciousness in normal, everyday social situations. Social Phobia could be specific, where the victim is anxious in certain situations like dating or job interviews, where the factor of scrutiny is high. But the phobia could also be general, where almost every social situation is feared.
Definition of Psychological Disorders
There’s much “physical” in psychological disorders while at the same time, there is much psychological in “physical” disorders. The issues brought up by psychological disorders continue to be much clearer than their solutions and no meaning or description completely identifies precise limitations for the term “psychological disorder”. The idea of psychological disorder, like a number of other concepts in science and medicine, lacks a regular operational description or definition which covers every situation.
Psychological disorder is more or less better identified as a significant behavioral or psychological syndrome or pattern that happens with an individual which causes significant distress (for instance, an unpleasant symptom) or disability (that is, impairment in a number of important regions of functioning) or having a considerably elevated chance of suffering pain, death, discomfort, disability, or an essential lack of freedom. Additionally, this pattern or syndrome must not be an expected response to a particular event, for instance, when a loved one dies. Instead, it’s a manifestation of mental, behavioral or biological disorder within the individual. Behavior that is deviant (e.g., religious, sexual or political) or conflicts which are mainly between the society and the individual are not psychological disorders, unless the conflict or deviance is really a characteristic of a disorder within the individual, as referred to above.
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