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How Much Do You Know About Anxiety Disorders?

June 10, 2008 - 7:30am
 
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How Much Do You Know About Anxiety Disorders?

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We’ve all felt it at times—the anxiety before a test, big game, or interview; the fear of walking down a dark street or hearing a strange sound when home alone. Fear and anxiety are normal and necessary parts of life. They keep us alert and can be protective. However, the more than 19 million Americans with anxiety disorders face much more than just "normal" anxiety. Instead, their lives are filled with overwhelming anxiety and fear that invade their thoughts and make it difficult to function in daily life. Luckily, there are effective treatments available.

Take the quiz below to learn some important and helpful facts about anxiety disorders.

1. Which of the following are disorders of the brain?

a. Stroke, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis

b. Anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, depression, alcohol addiction

c. Autism, anorexia, learning disabilities, dyslexia, migraines

d. Alzheimer's, Tourette syndrome, Parkinson's, brain tumor

e. All of the above

Click here for the answer.

2. Post-traumatic stress disorder, once referred to as shell shock or battle fatigue, is a condition that only affects war veterans.

True or False?

Click here for the answer.

3. Someone who feels compelled to spend a great deal of time doing things over and over again such as washing their hands, checking things, or counting things has an anxiety disorder.

True or False?

Click here for the answer.

4. What is the most common mental health problem in the United States?

a. Depression

b. Schizophrenia

c. Anxiety disorders

Click here for the answer.

5. Which of the following diseases/disorders are real medical illnesses?

a. Anxiety disorders

b. Type 1 diabetes

c. High blood pressure

d. All of the above

Click here for the answer.

6. Which of the following are symptoms of an anxiety disorder known as panic disorder?

a. Chest pains

b. Dizziness

c. Nausea or stomach problems

d. Fear of dying

e. All of the above

Click here for the answer.

7. Anxiety disorders often occur with other illnesses.

True or False?

Click here for the answer.

8. Most people can successfully take control of the symptoms of anxiety disorders by sheer willpower and personal strength.

True or False?

Click here for the answer.

Answers

1. Which of the following are disorders of the brain?

Answer: e. All of the above
Brain research demonstrates that disorders as different as stroke , anxiety disorders , alcohol addiction , anorexia nervosa , learning disabilities, and Alzheimer's all have their roots in the brain. Every American will be affected at some point in his or her life, either personally or by a family member's struggle, with a brain disorder.

2. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), once referred to as shell shock or battle fatigue, is a condition that only affects war veterans.

Answer: False
People who have experienced a traumatic event or ordeal, such as a tornado, a rape or mugging, a fire, or a car accident, are at risk for developing PTSD . People with this anxiety disorder repeatedly relive the trauma in the form of nightmares and disturbing recollections during the day. They may also experience sleep problems, depression , feeling detached or numb, or being easily startled.

3. Someone who feels compelled to spend a great deal of time doing things over and over again such as washing their hands, checking things, or counting things has an anxiety disorder.

Answer: True
A person plagued by the urgent need to engage in certain rituals, or tormented by unwelcome thoughts or images, may have an anxiety disorder called obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) . Most healthy people can identify with having some of the symptoms of OCD, such as checking the stove several times before leaving the house. But the disorder is diagnosed only when such activities take up at least one hour a day, are very distressing, and interfere with daily life. OCD affects men and women equally. It can appear in childhood, adolescence, or adulthood, but on the average, it first shows up in the teens or early adulthood.

4. What is the most common mental health problem in the United States?

Answer: c. Anxiety disorders
More than 19 million Americans suffer from anxiety disorders , which include panic disorder , obsessive-compulsive disorder , post-traumatic stress disorder , phobias, and generalized anxiety disorders .

5. Which of the following diseases/disorders are real medical illnesses?

Answer: d. All of the above
Anxiety disorders , type 1 diabetes , and high blood pressure are all real medical illnesses. Unfortunately, misconceptions about mental illnesses like anxiety disorders still exist. Because many people believe mental illness is a sign of personal weakness, the condition is often left untreated. However, scientists have shown that anxiety disorders are often related to the biological makeup and life experiences of the person, and they frequently run in families. It is essential that anxiety disorders be recognized, as there are treatments available that can help control the disease and improve people’s lives.

6. Which of the following are symptoms of an anxiety disorder known as panic disorder?

Answer: e. All of the above
Panic disorder is characterized by unexpected and repeated episodes of intense fear accompanied by physical symptoms that may include chest pain, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, dizziness, or abdominal distress. These sensations often mimic symptoms of a heart attack or other life-threatening medical conditions. Left untreated, people with panic disorder can develop so many phobias about places or situations where panic attacks have occurred that they become housebound.

If panic disorder is not treated, a person can develop phobias about the places or situations where panic attacks occurred. As these phobias intensify, a person’s life becomes severely limited, in some cases, to the point of being afraid to leave home.

7. Anxiety disorders often occur with other illnesses.

Answer: True
It is common for an anxiety disorder to accompany depression , eating disorders ( anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa ), substance abuse ( alcoholism and drug abuse ), or another anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders can also co-exist with illnesses such as heart disease , high blood pressure , irritable bowel syndrome , thyroid conditions, and migraine headaches . In such cases, the accompanying disorders will also need to be treated.

Before beginning any treatment, it is important to have a thorough medical exam to determine if other conditions are contributing to the anxiety disorder.

8. Most people can successfully take control of the symptoms of anxiety disorders by sheer willpower and personal strength.

Answer: False
Many people misunderstand mental illnesses, including anxiety disorders , and think people should be able to overcome the symptoms by sheer willpower. Wishing the symptoms away does not work—but there are treatments that can help. Treatment for anxiety disorders often involves medication, specific forms of psychotherapy, or a combination of the two.

Resources:

Anxiety Disorders Association of America
http://www.adaa.org

National Institute of Mental Health
http://www.nimh.nih.gov

American Psychiatric Association
http://www.psych.org

Source: 

National Institute of Mental Health
http://www.nimh.nih.gov/



Last reviewed July 2003 by Richard Glickman-Simon, MD

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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