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Encyclopedia > Nervousness
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Anxiety is a complex combination of the feeling of fear, apprehension and worry often accompanied by physical sensations such as palpitations, chest pain and/or shortness of breath. It may exist as a primary brain disorder or may be associated with other medical problems including other psychiatric disorders. Fear is an unpleasant feeling of perceived risk or danger, real or not. ... Jump to: navigation, search The Scream, the famous painting commonly thought of as depicting the experience of mental illness. ...

A chronically recurring case of anxiety that has a serious effect on your life may be clinically diagnosed as an anxiety disorder. The most common are Generalized anxiety disorder, Panic disorder, Social anxiety disorder, phobias, Obsessive-compulsive disorder, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with :Anxiety. ... General anxiety disorder or generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is an anxiety disorder that is characterized by uncontrollable worry about everyday things. ... A panic attack is a period of intense fear or discomfort, typically with an abrupt onset and usually lasting no more than 30 minutes. ... Social anxiety, sometimes known as social phobia or social anxiety disorder (SAD), is a common form of anxiety disorder that causes sufferers to experience intense anxiety in some or all of the social interactions and public events of everyday life. ... Jump to: navigation, search This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ... Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), is a term for the psychological consequences of exposure to or confrontation with stressful experiences, which involve actual or threatened death, serious physical injury or a threat to physical integrity and which the person found highly traumatic. ...



A good medical history and physical examination are essential for the initial diagnosis of any of the anxiety disorders in order to exclude any other significant, treatable medical conditions that could be causing the symptoms of anxiety. A family history of anxiety disorders or other psychiatric illnesses strengthens the case for an anxiety disorder.

As there is a high association for anxiety for other psychiatric problems including drug abuse and depression, the physical examination should include checking for evidence of intravenous drug use or previous episodes of self-harm.

Diagnosis using a blood test

In 2005 a reaserch team from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem developed a method for detecting anxiety disorders by performing a simple blood test. The team lead by Professor Hermona Soreq, Dean of the Faculty of Science at the Hebrew University created an index that calculated the optimum AChE, BChE and PON levels in comparison to age, BMI and a few other relevant factors. [1] האוניברסיטה העברית בירושלים, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (האוניברסיטה העברית בירושלים) is one of Israels oldest, largest and most important institutes of higher learning and research. ...

Generalized anxiety disorder

Main article: General anxiety disorder

Generalized anxiety disorder is a common chronic disorder that affects twice as many women as men and leads to considerable impairment (Brawman-Mintzer & Lydiard, 1996, 1997). As the name implies, generalized anxiety disorder is characterized by long-lasting anxiety that is not focused on any particular object or situation. In other words it is unspecific or free-floating. People with this disorder feel afraid of something but are unable to articulate the specific fear. They fret constantly and have a hard time controlling their worries. Because of persistent muscle tension and autonomic fear reactions, they may develop headaches, heart palpitations, dizziness, and insomnia. These physical complaints, combined with the intense, long term anxiety, make it difficult to cope with normal daily activities. General anxiety disorder or generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is an anxiety disorder that is characterized by uncontrollable worry about everyday things. ...

Panic disorder

Main article: Panic disorder

In panic disorder, the person suffers brief attacks of intense terror and apprehension that cause trembling and shaking, dizziness, and difficulty breathing. One who is often plagued by sudden bouts of intense anxiety might be said to be afflicted by this disorder. The American Psychiatric Association (2000) defines a panic attack as fear or discomfort that arises abruptly and peaks in 10 minutes or less. A panic attack is a period of intense fear or discomfort, typically with an abrupt onset and usually lasting no more than 30 minutes. ...

Although panic attacks sometimes seem to occur out of nowhere, they generally happen after frightening experiences, prolonged stress, or even exercise. Many people who have panic attacks (especially their first one) think they are having a heart attack and often end up at the Doctor or E.R to be checked. Even if the tests all come back normal the person will still worry, with the physical manifestations of anxiety only reinforcing their fear that something is wrong with their body. Extreme awareness of every little thing that happens or changes with their body can make for a stressful time. Normal changes in heartbeat, such as when climbing a flight of stairs will be noticed by a panic sufferer and lead them to think something is wrong with their heart or they are about to have another panic attack. Some begin to worry excessively and even quit jobs or refuse to leave home to avoid future attacks. It is labeled panic disorder when several apparently spontaneous attacks lead to a persistent concern about future attacks. A common complication of panic disorder is agoraphobia--anxiety about being in a place or situation where escape is difficult or embarrassing (Craske, 2000; Gorman, 2000). Jump to: navigation, search Agoraphobia is a form of anxiety disorder. ...


Main article: Phobia

This category involves a strong, irrational fear and avoidance of an object or situation. The person knows the fear is irrational, yet the anxiety remains. Phobic disorders differ from generalized anxiety disorders and panic disorders because there is a specific stimulus or situation that elicits a strong fear response. Imagine how it would feel to be so frightened by a spider that you would try to jump out of a speeding car to get away from it. This is how a person suffering from phobia might feel. Jump to: navigation, search This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ...

People with phobias have especially powerful imaginations, so they vividly anticipate terrifying consequences from encountering such feared objects as knives, bridges, blood, enclosed places, or certain animals. These individuals recognize that their fears are excessive and unreasonable but are generally unable to control their anxiety.

In addition to specific phobias, such as fears of knives, rats or spiders, there is another category of phobias known as social phobias. Individuals with this disorder experience intense fear of being negatively evaluated by others or of being publicly embarrassed because of impulsive acts. Almost everyone experiences "stage fright" when speaking or performing in front of a group. But people with social phobias become so anxious that performance is out of the question. In fact, their fear of public scrutiny and potential humiliaton becomes so pervasive that normal life is impossible (den Boer 2000; Margolis & Swartz, 2001).

Obsessive-compulsive disorder

Main article: Obsessive-compulsive disorder

Obsessive compulsive disorder is a type of anxiety disorder characterized by obsessions and/or compulsions. Obsessions are distressing, repetitive thoughts or images that the individual often realizes are senseless. Compulsions are repetitive behaviors that the person feels forced or compelled into doing, in order to relieve anxiety. One example would be the obsession of extreme cleanliness and fear of contamination, which may lead to the compulsion of having to wash one's hands hundreds of times a day. Another example may be the obsession that one's door is unlocked, which may lead to the constant checking and rechecking of doors.

Treatment overview

The acute symptoms of anxiety are most often controlled with anxiolytic agents such as benzodiazepines. Diazepam (valium) was one of the first such drugs. Today we see a wide range of anti-anxiety agents that are based on benzodiazepines, although only two have been approved for panic attacks, Klonopin (Clonazepam) and Xanax (Alprazolam). All benzodiazepines are physically addictive, and extended use should be carefully monitored by a physician, preferably a psychiatrist. It is very important that once placed on a regimen of regular benzodiazepine use, the user should not abruptly discontinue the medication. Image:Benzodiazepine. ... Jump to: navigation, search Diazepam, brand names: Valium, Seduxen, in Europe Apozepam, Diapam, is a 1,4-benzodiazepine derivative, which possesses anxiolytic, anticonvulsant, sedative and skeletal muscle relaxant properties. ... Clonazepam (marketed by Roche under the trade-name Klonopin® in the United States and Rivotril® in Canada and Europe) is a anticonvulsant sedative-hypnotic anxiolytic (anti-anxiety drug), and a member of the benzodiazepine class of drugs. ... Alprazolam, is an anxiolytic benzodiazepine used to treat anxiety disorders. ...

Some of the SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) have been used with varying degrees of success to treat patients with chronic anxiety, the best results seen with those who exhibit symptoms of clinical depression and non-specific anxiety or general anxiety disorder concurrently. Beta blockers are also sometimes used to treat the somatic symptoms associated with anxiety, especially the shakiness of "stage fright." Jump to: navigation, search Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are a class of antidepressants. ... Beta blockers or beta-adrenergic blocking agents are a class of drugs used to treat a variety of cardiovascular conditions and some other diseases. ...

Behavioral and cognitive therapy are the most popular and most effective forms of psychotherapy used to treat anxiety. Exercise and other physical activities are thought to relieve stress and anxiety as well. Alcoholic drinks are probably the most widely used substance for the alleviation of anxiety, although alcohol is also a powerful depressant and has a plethora of dangerous and uncomfortable side effects in addition to being highly addictive. Cognitive therapy or cognitive behavior therapy is a kind of psychotherapy used to treat depression, anxiety disorders, phobias, and other forms of mental disorder. ... Psychotherapy is a set of techniques intended to improve mental health, emotional or behavioral issues in individuals, who are often called clients. These issues often make it hard for people to manage their lives and achieve their goals. ... Jump to: navigation, search Bottles of cachaça, a Brazilian alcoholic beverage. ...

A variety of over the counter medications are also used for their alleged anti-anxiety properties. Kava Kava is a popular herbal treatment, small doses either taken regularly through the day, or when early symptoms are noticed by the patient. Valerian Root is also reputed to have anti-anxiety and sedative properties, as are Passion Fruit, Hops, and Chamomile. Kava is an ancient crop of the western Pacific. ...

Many scientists believe that the benzodiazepines and other antianxiety drugs are greatly overprescribed and potentially addictive. See, for example, Fred Leavitt's The REAL Drug Abusers (Rowman & Littlefield, 2003). The addicitive nature of the Benzodiazepine class became apparent in the mid 1960's when Valium (Diazepam), the first drug in the class to win FDA approval, resulted in thousands of people who quickly showed the classic symptoms of addiction when used for more than a week or two consistently.

The most addictive of the benzodiazepines appears to be Xanax (alprazolam) due to its rapid onset and short half life in the blood stream. Xanax also has the dubious distinction of being the only benzodiazepine that often requires hosptialization for discontinuation as a precaution against dangerous and sometimes fatal seizures as part of the detoxification process. No other medications in this class have shown this fatal side effect, although abrupt discontinuation of virtually any benzodiazepine can result in cravings, stomach pains, cramps, increased anxiety, insomnia and other signs of withdrawal.

Self help and Relaxation techniques also play an important role in relieving anxiety symptoms. Self help includes proper diet (reduction in caffeine and sugar consumption), exercise, laughing, breathing techniques, brisk walk, proper sleep, etc. Various types of relaxation therapy are available - you might want to discuss this with your doctor.

Anxiety in palliative care

Some research has strongly suggested that treating anxiety in cancer patients improves their quality of life. The treatment generally consists of counselling, relaxation techniques or pharmacologically with benzodiazepines. Image:Benzodiazepine. ...

Anxiety and alternative medicine

A 2002 CDC survey (see table 3 on page 9) found that complementary and alternative methods were used to treat anxiety/depression by 4.5 percent of U.S. adults who used CAM. WHY IS THE CDC headquartered in Atlanta? Who made this decision? Was it political? Was there a powerful senator/politician? PLease answer!! The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia, is recognized as the lead United States agency for protecting the public health and safety of people... Alternative medicine broadly describes methods and practices used in place of conventional medical treatments. ... Jump to: navigation, search Clinical depression is a health condition of depression with mental and physical components reaching criteria generally accepted by clinicians. ...

See also

Angst is a Dutch and German word for fear or anxiety. ... Jump to: navigation, search Listen to this article · (info) This audio file was created from the revision dated 2005-09-06, and does not reflect subsequent edits to the article. ...

External links

  Results from FactBites:
Nervousness - WrongDiagnosis.com (751 words)
Nervousness is usually used to describe mental states similar to anxiety, but with more obvious external symptoms, such as nail biting, fidgeting, etc. However, nervousness and anxiety are similar, and the causes of anxiety need to be examined for nervousness symptoms.
Nervousness needs also to be distinguished from restlessness or hyperactivity.
Nervousness usually has little to do with the physical nervous system.
HCC Psychology - Darren Smith (664 words)
Some nervousness when speaking in front of a group is not only inevitable, it is also desirable.
If it can be controlled, your nervousness can be translated into excitement or enthusiasm, and that makes for a presentation that is exciting and interesting to the audience.
Excessive nervousness can not only take away any pleasure that doing the presentation may give you, but it may also have a negative effect on your performance.
  More results at FactBites »



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