+
4 Tutorials that teach Anxiety Disorders
Take your pick:
Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety Disorders

Rating:
Rating
(0)
Description:

This lesson will define, examine, and differentiate the following anxiety disorders: generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder with agoraphobia, and panic disorder without agoraphobia.

(more)
See More
Try a College Course Free

Sophia’s self-paced online courses are a great way to save time and money as you earn credits eligible for transfer to over 2,000 colleges and universities.*

Begin Free Trial
No credit card required

25 Sophia partners guarantee credit transfer.

221 Institutions have accepted or given pre-approval for credit transfer.

* The American Council on Education's College Credit Recommendation Service (ACE Credit®) has evaluated and recommended college credit for 20 of Sophia’s online courses. More than 2,000 colleges and universities consider ACE CREDIT recommendations in determining the applicability to their course and degree programs.

Tutorial

What's Covered

Anxiety disorders are some of the most common mental disorders encountered alongside depression, mood disorders, ADHD, and learning disorders. 

This tutorial will specifically discuss:

  1. Overview of Anxiety Disorders
  2. Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  3. Panic Disorder
  4. Agoraphobia
  5. Treatment and Coping

1.  OVERVIEW OF ANXIETY DISORDERS

Anxiety disorders appear in almost 20% of adults. When anxiety is discussed, it's referring to any kinds of feelings of nervousness, or worry, or unease within a person.

Anxiety isn't necessarily all bad. In fact, anxiety can be helpful for people to identify things that are particularly important or dangerous. They're almost sort of a mental indicator or clue to the person that they need to particularly pay attention to something.

However, an anxiety disorder is any kind of disorder where a person feels anxiety, worry or unease, in a pervasive or particularly strong or unnecessary kind of way. In addition, the disorder impairs their life in some form. 

    Term to Know

  •     Anxiety Disorder
  • A disorder in which people feel worry or unease in a pervasive or particularly strong or unnecessary way, which impairs their life in some way.

Oftentimes, people with an anxiety disorder can develop feelings of defensiveness, an insecurity towards other people, as well as inferiority. A lot of times, they might feel threatened, and they can't necessarily do anything about it. So you can see how that can impair people's lives in certain ways.

Remember, when we talk about mental disorders, we're referring to extremes of mental functions or behaviors. So when we say anxiety, we don't mean in its normal form. 

For example, when we say somebody is getting anxious, like when they're taking a test, that's normal. It is normal to feel worried when something is particularly important to you.

When a person has a panic attack, it's not just that normal feeling of anxiety, but rather, it feels as though their life is in physical danger. For example, they may start choking, or it's hard for them to breathe. They might get nauseous. They lose control of their body and literally just drop to the ground. They could have chest pains.

All of those feelings can last for a period of minutes to hours. You can see how this can be detrimental to a person to an extreme degree. So in essence, anxiety disorders can take a lot of different forms.


2.  GENERALIZED ANXIETY

Generalized anxiety disorder is a feeling of being anxious or tense without any specific cause for a person. This feeling of anxiety occurs in a person for at least six months in length. But oftentimes, it can happen for longer periods of time, where a person feels especially jittery or on edge constantly with physical symptoms that might go along with this, things like sweating or rapid heart rate, an upset stomach, dizziness, and trouble concentrating for these people.

Notice that it's not short, quick periods of increased anxiety. That would be something like a panic disorder, which we'll talk about next. Rather, it's long, and it's a pervasive feeling of anxiety that's constantly with a person, and it can vary in its intensity. It can be very intense, or it can be general and
sort of in the background with the person for the majority of the time. But you can see how having these feelings can make a person feel very  distraught or stressed out as a result.

      Term to Know

      Generalized Anxiety Disorder

An anxiety disorder where a person has a feeling anxious or tense without any specific cause for at least 6 months.


3.  PANIC DISORDER

A panic disorder, on the other hand, is when a person has a constant feeling of anxiety, as we said before, with frequent periods of especially intense and often unexpected panic or very intense periods of that anxiety occurring. And this is what we call a panic attack. So that short period of time where suddenly they feel incredibly worried or nervous, almost without any kind of physical control over this, and this can often be for no reason. 

      Term to Know

     Panic Disorder

An anxiety disorder when a person has a constant feeling of anxiety with frequent periods of intense, unexpected panic; can occur with or without agoraphobia.

But it can also be because of specific causes, though the intensity is inappropriate for those causes. 

     ExampleIf someone becomes especially stressed out by          something at work, they can have a panic attack.  This in                  turn increases that feeling of anxiety to a degree that's really            unnecessary.  The reaction does not match the situation.   

A person having a panic attack can feel like they're having a heart attack as well.  Or they might feel like they're actually about to die. So that's a very stressful thing for a person to experience. In addition, panic disorder can appear either with or without agoraphobia, which, again, we'll talk about next. So in theory, we can have panic disorder with agoraphobia or panic disorder without agoraphobia.


4.  AGORAPHOBIA

Agoraphobia is any kind of anxiety or fear of being in an open space or an unfamiliar space where escape is especially difficult. Now, this is different from what we would call social anxiety disorder, which is a fear of being in social situations and interacting with others because agoraphobic people would feel anxious in a crowded public place just like a person with social anxiety disorder. 

     Term to Know

     Agoraphobia

Anxiety or fear of being in open spaces or unfamiliar ones where escape is difficult.

However, an agoraphobic person would also feel very anxious or afraid if they're out in the middle of the woods; if they're out in the middle of nowhere with no people present. This happens because they're in a situation where they feel exposed, and they aren't sure where they can escape or where they could run to if they needed some kind of safety.

Someone with a panic disorder with agoraphobia may have a panic attack as a result of being out in  public, so they have a panic attack as a result of their agoraphobia. Or they could be so worried that they might have a panic attack that they would stay at home. So in other words, their agoraphobia might affect or might be affected because of their panic disorder. In reality, these two can feed on each other.


5.  TREATMENT AND COPING

Panic attacks, panic disorders, generalized anxiety disorders, really any of these anxiety disorders we've reviewed, can can be treated with medication. Anxiolytics are drugs that are specifically designed to decrease anxiety and feelings of fear, as well as with antidepressants. 

People can also be treated by being taught strategies to reduce or cope with the anxiety, which can help them to better mentally deal with either their general or their specific anxieties that they have throughout their lives.

Summary

Today's lesson has been a brief overview of anxiety disorders. Anxiety disorder refers to any kind of disorder where a person feels anxiety, worry or unease, in a pervasive or particularly strong or unnecessary kind of way. Generalized anxiety occurs in a person for at least six months in length, and panic attacks are short bursts where the individual may feel as though he/she is having a heart attack.  Agoraphobia may occur with panic attacks. Treatments include anxiolytics or learning coping strategies.

Good luck!  


Source: This work is adapted from sophia author Erick Taggart.

TERMS TO KNOW
  • Anxiety Disorder

    A disorder in which people feel worry or unease in a pervasive or particularly strong or unnecessary way, which impairs their life in some way.

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder

    An anxiety disorder where a person has a feeling anxious or tense without any specific cause for at least 6 months.

  • Agoraphobia

    Anxiety or fear of being in open spaces or unfamiliar ones where escape is difficult.

  • Panic Disorder

    An anxiety disorder when a person has a constant feeling of anxiety with frequent periods of intense, unexpected panic; can occur with or without agoraphobia.