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Anxiety

Uploaded by adaTude on Sep 25, 2002

Anxiety disorders are the most common of all the mental disorders. They affect an estimated 8 to 10 of every 100 children and adolescents.

Anxiety is the brain’s way of telling the body that there is danger, something difficult, or something painful coming. It is a biological process that tells us when we can stay where we are, and when we either need to protect ourselves or move to a safer place. When the brain tells the body there is danger, the Sympathetic Nervous System starts up, making the person anxious. They increase their oxygen by breathing faster and shallower. It increases the heart rate and the blood to muscles of the arms and legs. It is also what makes the body focus its attention on running, fighting, ducking, etc. The Sympathetic Nervous System is what causes you to have clammy hands and feet, an upset stomach, or a sense of dread when you’re anxious. When studying worry, scientists found more activity in the left-hemisphere. Worry is associated more with obsessing, going over and over something, or making up stories in your head.

When the brain recognizes that you’re not in danger anymore, the Parasympathetic Nervous System goes to work doing the exact opposite, to bring the systems back to normal. Sometimes the brain gets stuck in the Sympathetic (survival) mode, and the Parasympathetic Nervous System doesn’t receive the response to start. This is when an anxiety disorder develops.

Anxiety helps you cope by getting you ready to face a threatening situation. It makes you alert and gives you an adrenaline boost to help you perform better. When the anxiety/fear makes you unable to perform an activity, lasts for months after the event has passed, and/or is more intense, there’s an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders are illnesses that cause people to experience excessive fear, worry, or uneasiness that interferes with their daily lives.

There are many different anxiety disorders. Some are:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) – people with this disorder suffer from excessive, unrealistic worry that lasts six months or more. They tend to be very hard on themselves (perfectionists) sometimes doing tasks repeatedly. They also might seek constant approval or reassurance from others. Symptoms include trembling, muscle aches, insomnia, abdominal discomfort, dizziness, headache, irritability, and difficulty concentrating.
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) – people with this disorder have persistent, recurring thoughts (obsessions) that form from exaggerated fears. The obsessions sometimes lead to over-performing a routine...

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Uploaded by:   adaTude

Date:   09/25/2002

Category:   Psychology

Length:   4 pages (872 words)

Views:   2075

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