Anxiety and co…

Anxiety disorders are the most commonly encountered psychological disorders among adults

Advertisements

If you have never felt anxious, something is wrong with you. It is okay to worry temporarily especially when we have to make important decisions when we are faced with a challenge or a test/exam. However, it is a different case entirely when this is blown out of proportion. Anxiety disorders are the most commonly encountered psychological disorders among adults and they interfere with performance, relationships and other healthy daily activities.  Have you read about Stress?

Anxiety disorders are the most commonly encountered psychological disorders among adults and they interfere with performance, relationships and other healthy daily activities.

ap-psychology-powerpoint-gad-5-638

Nobody wants to be labeled as crazy, especially in an African society where stigmatization thrives like wild-fire. For this reasons, critical issues pertinent to assessing anxiety disorders are bordered on;

  • Sensitivity to making the diagnosis
  • Anxiety in a mask of productivity
  • Other psychiatric diagnoses associated with it
  • Medical conditions and medications that can cause or exacerbate anxiety disorders.

Risk Factors

  • Shyness, or behavioral inhibition, in childhood
  • Being female
  • Having poor economic resources
  • Being divorced or widowed
  • Exposure to stressful life events in childhood and adulthood
  • Anxiety disorders in close biological relatives
  • Parental history of mental disorders

ch6-fig6_12

The anxiety disorders that will be examined in this write-up will include:

  1. Panic disorder
  2. Generalized anxiety disorder
  3. Obsessive compulsive disorder
  4. Post-traumatic stress disorder
  5. Social phobia and specific phobia.

As each disorder is explored, emphasis will be placed on assessment of commonly encountered psychiatric and medical conditions that contribute to anxiety symptoms. However, before considering the specific anxiety disorders to be presented in this program, it is useful to highlight the following issues:

Psychiatric Disorders associated with Anxiety Disorders

  • Major depressive disorder
  • Substance abuse disorders – alcohol, marijuana
  • Somatization disorders (fatigue, chest pain, headache, insomnia, non-specific GI complaints)
  • Complex anxiety disorders – ( Post-traumatic stress disorder with Panic disorder)

Medical Conditions associated with Exacerbating Anxiety

  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Adrenal Dysfunction
  • Angina
  • Hypoglycemia

Medications and Substances associated with Exacerbating Anxiety

  • Stimulants (Amphetamines, caffeine, cocaine, and other over the counter “natural stimulants”)
  • Withdrawal from drugs, including alcohol
  • Heavy metals and toxins
  • Steroids
  • Rapid withdrawal from some antidepressants

General Action plan in dealing with anxiety and associated disorders

  1. Assessment for suicide risk, particularly in patients with depression and panic disorder, substance abuse or high levels of agitation.
  2. Identification of severity of anxiety disorder (chronic or episodic)
  3. Identification of substance abuse
  4. Assessment of key symptoms of panic disorder, fear of dying and/or fear of going crazy
  5. Assessment for depression or other mood disorder
  6. Inquiry as to the presence of anti-social behavior
  7. Exploration of presence of precipitating event or trauma
  8. Being alert to people with anxiety disorders who have insomnia, headache, non-specific GI complaints, cognitive complaints

We will be talking extensively about mental health and major associative conditions in the comings weeks. Stay tuned. Read about Stress here.

Author: Dr Ahmad Abdullah, MBBS, MSc Clinical Pathology

Ahmad is a father, a husband and a poet. He was born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria. He earned his medical degree from the University of Juba, currently in South Sudan. He is interested in medical research and currently practicing in Lagos, Nigeria.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s