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Anxiety And Panic Disorder Essay

1912 words - 8 pages

Everybody has experienced feelings of anxiety from time to time; and sometimes people get so overwhelmed, they go into a state panic. Anxiety is actually a normal human reaction to stress. However, in severe cases, anxiety and panic can become disabling and interfere with everyday living. For an adolescent, life is already stressful enough. How does an adolescent, then, live day to day with one or both of these conditions? This paper will take an in depth look at what anxiety, specifically generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), and panic disorder are, signs and symptoms that show severe anxiety and/or panic disorder is present in an adolescent, treatment methods for both GAD and panic disorder, ...view middle of the document...

Panic disorder is diagnosed when the adolescent experiences multiple, unexpected “panic attacks” continuously over time. A panic attack is a completely disabling situation. During an episode an individual experiences intense fear, apprehension, or terror, and is often accompanied by an impending sense of death or insanity (Panic Disorder. NCIB). Panic attacks are actually considered common to a degree, affecting roughly five percent of people at some point in their lives (Panic Disorder. ProQuest). It is when multiple panic attacks occur throughout time when a panic disorder diagnosis is made. Panic disorder is often present with other mental health problems and/or poor life style choices. These include GAD, depression, tobacco use, alcohol use, drug use, and even genetics. These all can contribute to and exacerbate symptoms of panic disorder. Generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder have similar symptoms, which we will look at next.
Generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder have similar signs and symptoms. GAD is diagnosed when excessive anxiety is constantly present for at least 6 months. Along with the excessive anxiety and worry, these physical and cognitive symptoms can be present: restlessness, fatigue, concentration deficits, irritability, muscle tension, and sleeping disorders to name a few. GAD is harder to detect in children and normally isn’t detected until the adolescent years. Anxiety in a GAD diagnosed adolescent is likely to emerge in the presence of normal social, academic, or sporting events. Fear of judgment from family and peers hangs heavy on the adolescent’s mind (Connolly, Simpson, and Petty 2006). The causes of the anxiety can arise from more ludicrous worries as well. This can include worries of a plague, nuclear war, or natural disasters occurring. With the mind being boggled from all the unnecessary worries by GAD, the adolescent’s academic, social, and athletic performance is now at risk of deteriorating. Any negative impacts on the adolescent will only escalate the anxiety. Bad decision making can now occur. Three common bad decisions are drug, tobacco, and alcohol use. To add insult to injury, if any of these decisions are made, they too will only intensify the anxiety from addiction. GAD’s symptoms, however, have less severity on performance than panic disorder.
Panic disorder’s symptoms are more severe and easier to notice. Common symptoms of panic attacks include: heart palpitations, sweating, trembling, shortness of breath, hyperventilation, choking sensations, chest pain, nausea, dizziness, depersonalization, or feeling a loss of identity, numbness, chills, hot flashes, fear of insanity, and fear of dying. It is not necessary for the victim to experience all of the stated symptoms in a panic attack. However, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders states that a true panic attack is accompanied by at least four of the previously stated symptoms. Additionally, the symptoms...

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