Anxiety Disorders 1

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Overview – Anxiety Disorders, Part 1  

The word “anxiety” comes from a Latin word that means anxious, distressed, or troubled. Worry is a common synonym for anxiety. In the 17th Century anxiety was considered a pathological condition. Modern psychiatry is said to have used the word since at least 1904. It is a safe guess that from time immemorial, human beings have worried about someone or something—at least sometimes. When was the last time you worried? Did it solve the problem?

The anxiety response involved with anxiety disorders is regulated by two tiny almond-shaped brain organs known as the amygdalae. Normally, they trigger anxiety when danger threatens. For a person with an anxiety disorder, however, the amygdalae recalibrate to a new and higher baseline level of anxiety.

Anxiety is typically linked with the emotion of fear. One of three protective emotions (anger and sadness being the other two), fear is designed to alert you to danger. Unfortunately, the emotion of fear can show up when you are truly in danger or when you simply imagine you are in danger even when that is not true. Some are scared that something bad might happen or fear that something good might not happen. Worrying can keep them awake at night and rob them of needed sleep.

Overall, anxiety disorders are said to be the most common mental disorders on Planet Earth, affecting 1 in every 13 persons worldwide. Just think, if there are 7 billion people living on planet earth, 538,461,538 will experience an anxiety disorder each year. That number represents the number of people who live in the United States of America, Mexico, Canada, and Iraq combined. A 12-year study at Rush University Medical Center showed that individuals who are anxiety-prone showed a 40 percent higher risk of developing a mild cognitive impairment believed to foreshadow Alzheimer’s Disease.

Anxiety Disorders, Part 1, presents information on four different types of Anxiety, one type each day for four days.

Separation Anxiety

Separation Anxiety is an anxiety disorder that can be defined as developmentally inappropriate fear when anticipating or experiencing separation from home or someone with whom the person is strongly attached—referred to as a major attachment figure. Separation Anxiety is characterized by anxiety attacks when anticipating or experiencing separation from home or from someone with whom the person is strongly attached. The anxious fear lasts at least 4 weeks in children and adolescents and typically 6 months or more in adults. Separation Anxiety Disorder is one of the most common childhood anxiety disorders. No one single cause for separation anxiety has been identified. 

Selective Mutism

Selective Mutism is an anxiety disorder that typically begins in early childhood, often between the ages of two and four. It is characterized by a consistent failure to speak in specific social situations where there is a natural expectation of speaking. For instance, a child may be unable to speak when separated from the parents or when in the presence of relatives that they are meeting for the first time or see infrequently. literal inability to speak. The individual is not refusing to speak. He or she is literally unable to speak. It is more commonly seen in girls and in children who are learning a second language. Some may use gestures (nod or shake head) awhile some are unable to use any form of communication, spoken, written, or gestured

Specific Phobia

Specific Phobia is an anxiety disorder that can be defined as a persistent fear of an object, creature, environment or situation, or even a person. It is characterized by an extreme irrational fear. It is possible to develop a phobia to a great many things, even to some types of food. It could be the terror of getting a vaccine injection in a medical setting; or vomiting or choking in a restaurant; or getting bitten by a dog, snake, or spider; or traveling to a new country for fear of becoming lost; or flying in an airplane. 

Social Anxiety

Social Anxiety is an anxiety disorder characterized by an irrational fear or discomfort of being in unfamiliar social situations or social situations outside one’s own home. Individuals may be afraid that they will be judged or criticized by others so would rather stay home. Others become almost panic-stricken simply at the thought of any social setting where they might become the “center of attention,” such as at a birthday or anniversary party. A few may even isolate themselves, stop dating, refuse a proposal of marriage, drop out of school, or even quit a job. 

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