Linked Diagnoses- Anxiety/Panic Disorder
Most anxiety and panic disorders are based on avoidance and fear (Morrison 2006). Anxiety deals with worrying, nervousness, and fear. They often occur in response to a specific object, stimuli, or social situation (2006). People who are anxious tend to avoid people and situations that evoke these feelings in them. Panic responses occur when the individual finds themselves in a situation that makes them anxious and escape is either difficult or leads to significant embarrassment (APA, 2000). Common bodily responses include sweating, rapid heartbeat, an inability to catch one’s breath, and chest pain (2000). Anxiety disorders range from agoraphobia (a overall fear of any situation, place, or person outside of the individual’s comfort zone) to Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (persistent thoughts that lead to performing repetitive purposeless acts to reduce anxiety) (2000).
Anxiety and panic are not always problematic. These “fight or flight” responses exist to protect people from the dangers that exist all around them in the world. They become problematic when the response is out of proportion to the actual event or when the avoidant behaviors keep the individual from enjoying life to the fullest (APA, 2000). Often traumatic events can lead the individual to develop extreme reactions or to take unreasonable measures to avoid certain situations that remind them of the trauma they suffered. While this may create a false sense of security, in actuality the individual is allowing their past to control how they and those who live with them live their lives. The good news is that anxiety and panic disorders are treatable and there are effective strategies that do not even require the individual to take medication.