PlusFour Solutions: Guidance through Assessment

Emotional and Behavioral Assessment

Anxiety Disorders

preventativeAnxiety is a natural part of life and most people experience it routinely. The word “anxiety” usually refers to worry, stress or nervousness, and may often be linked to a particular event or experience. However, when anxiety impacts a person’s ability to function, a proper diagnosis and treatment may be necessary. Some common types of anxiety disorders are mentioned here.

Panic Attacks are sudden episodes of intense fear that prompt physical reactions in the body. Physical symptoms such as heart palpitations, sweaty palms and generalized weakness may occur along with a tingling or numb sensation; fainting or dizziness as well as nausea and chest pain may also occur.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) refers to excessive, uncontrollable worry about everyday things. Generalized anxiety is distinguished from phobia because it is not triggered by a specific object or situation. The intensity, duration and frequency of the worry are disproportionate to the issue or event and interferes with the person’s performance of tasks and ability to concentrate.

“I couldn’t do anything without rituals. They invaded every aspect of my life. I had a routine, and if I didn’t follow the routine, I’d get anxious and would have to get dressed again.”

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is characterized by recurrent thoughts, feelings or impulses along with repetitive acts. Disturbing or persistent thoughts are called obsessions and the rituals performed to try to stop the thoughts are called compulsions. Many people with OCD recognize their behaviors as irrational yet find them difficult to control and may have acute panic attacks if others interfere with a ritualistic behavior.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a disorder that can occur following the experience or witnessing of life-threatening events.

PTSD can develop following a terrifying event such as a rape or other violent attack, being kidnapped, held captive, military combat, child abuse, spousal abuse, serious accidents (i.e., car, train, airplane), natural disasters or other significantly traumatic events.

Social Anxiety Disorder (Social Phobia) involves overwhelming anxiety and excessive self-consciousness in everyday social situations. Levels of social anxiety range from avoiding certain people to being afraid to be with any other people. People with Social Phobia often believe that they are being watched and judged by others and they may feel self-conscious or even embarrassed by their own actions.

Phobias aren’t just extreme fears; they are irrational fears.

A Specific Phobia is a marked and persistent fear that is excessive or unreasonable, cued by the presence or anticipation of a specific object or situation (e.g., flying, heights, animals, receiving an injection, seeing blood). Exposure to the phobia almost always causes an immediate anxiety response which may take the form of a panic attack.

Additional information about Anxiety Disorders: