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Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Essay by   •  January 24, 2011  •  Essay  •  896 Words (4 Pages)  •  1,935 Views

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Anxiety can take on many definitions. However, generalized anxiety disorder focuses on the events in everyday life. When someone like James in our case study, worries excessively about day to day events over a period of six months or more, they should seek treatment right away before the symptoms worsen. Researchers have still yet to find a cure for GAD.

In this particular case study I will point out how the environment influences this disorder. These influences will include family, social class, interpersonal relationships, conditioning or learning theories, and culture. I will also include the psychosocial approaches that are commonly used to treat the disorder which include psychotherapy, behavioral therapy, cognitive therapy, group counseling, support groups, hypnotism, and biofeedback or relaxation techniques.

Environmental Influences

The environment we live in and how we manage our everyday activities can have a great impact on the commencement of generalized anxiety disorder. Our case study subject, James, has found in increasingly difficult to overcome his anxieties about himself and his career. He goes to great measures to avoid any stressful situation. These anxieties have gotten him to the point where he can't hold a job or even think about getting another one.

"Similar to previous studies, we found that in addition to genetic factors, only individual specific environmental factors, not shared environment, influenced GAD". (Kendler et al., 1992; Roy et al., 1995). This tells me that genetics and biology have the most influence on this particular disorder. There isn't a lot of research on the environmental impact of generalized anxiety disorder, nor is there many studies conducted to be certain.

According to our text, "Increasing evidence shows that we inherit a tendency to be tense or uptight (Eysenck, 1967; Gray & McNaughton, 1996; Lader & Wing, 1964; McGuffin &Reich, 1984). As with almost all psychological disorders, and unlike hair or eye color; no single gene seems to cause anxiety. Instead, contributions from many genes in several different areas on chromosomes collectively make us vulnerable to anxiety (Kendler et al., 1995; Lesch et al., 1996; Plomin et al., 1997) when the right psychological and social factors are in place" (Durand & Barlow, 2006).

James' father in particular put a lot of pressure on him to follow his footsteps into the medical field. I believe that these expectations where so high and put so much pressure on him that it eventually took its toll on him and he couldn't handle any kind of stressful situation, whether it be on the job or his personal life.

Psychosocial Treatments

Treatments for GAD depends on how severe the problem is and how committed the person is to treatment. There are a great deal of treatment options and not ones that require medications alone.

"Before treatment begins, a doctor must conduct a careful diagnostic evaluation to determine whether a person's symptoms are caused by an anxiety disorder or a physical problem. If an anxiety disorder is diagnosed, the type of disorder or the combination of disorders that are present must be identified, as well as any coexisting conditions, such as depression or substance abuse. Sometimes alcoholism, depression, or other coexisting conditions have such a strong effect on the individual that treating the anxiety disorder must wait until the coexisting conditions are brought under control" (NIMH, 2007).

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is another type of treatment that consists of systematic exposure to anxiety-provoking situations or thoughts, for example, a person learns how to substitute negative thoughts and behaviors with positive ones. They also learn coping skills along with breathing exercises and relaxation techniques. "Instead of avoiding



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