Mental Health Disorders

Mental Health DisorderWomen and men suffer equally from mental health disorders.  However, there are some disorders that are more prevalent in women than there are in men.  The ones that are more common in women are anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, eating disorders, postpartum depression, depression, borderline personality disorder, bipolar disorder, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD, ADD) ([3], n.d.).  In fact, out of all the disorders, anxiety disorders are the most common.  These disorders affect women two to three times more than men ([1], 2009).

Anxiety Disorders

Just what are anxiety disorders?  They are excessive or extreme “exaggerations” of one’s natural response to situations of fear and stress.  With this disorder, people tend to dread or “worry too much about” events or tasks that occur normally every day.  Everyone at some point in time experience the signs (i.e. fast heartbeat, sweating, stress, nervousness (trembling), worry, etc.) of fear and stress, and normally, your body is able to adapt to these psychological and physical changes within your body.  However, when you can’t adapt, you may have an anxiety disorder (Kelly, 2009).

Types of Anxiety Disorders

There are various types of anxiety disorders.  However, this article addresses the most common types and provides a basic description of each.  The major types of anxiety disorders are as follows:

  1. Panic Disorder – frequent or repeated panic attacks.  These attacks are “sudden and intense feelings of terror, fear or apprehension, without the presence of actual danger” (Ankrom, 2009).
  2. Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) – unprovoked exaggerated anxiety, tension, or worry that is difficult for the individual to control (Meek, 2008; [2], n.d.).
  3. Social Phobia (Social Anxiety Disorder) – an unreasonable or illogical fear of demeaning or embarrassing oneself or of being judged or watched in daily social situations (Cuncic, 2010).
  4. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) – persistent impulses, images, or unwanted (inappropriate) thoughts and/ or repeated rituals or behaviors ([5], 1999).
  5.  Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – stress that occurs after experiencing a traumatic event that involved “physical harm or the threat of physical harm” ([2], n.d.).

Treatment of Anxiety Disorders

Effective treatment of anxiety disorders begins with a thorough diagnostic evaluation from your doctor, normally a psychiatrist.  After the completion of the evaluation, your doctor can determine the exact medications and psychotherapy that you require.  Medications alone are not an effective cure for anxiety disorders.  This must be accompanied with psychotherapy.

Medications that are normally prescribed for anxiety disorders are antidepressants (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors -SSRIs, Tricyclics, and Monoamine oxidase inhibitors -MAOIs), anti-anxiety drugs (benzodiazepines), and beta-blockers (propranolol) which are used to control some of the physical symptoms.  Beware of all of the facts or side effects of the medications you are taking.  Get this information from your doctor.

In addition to the medications, psychotherapy must be prescribed to treat anxiety disorders.  During psychotherapy, the psychiatrist or other mental health professionals helps the patient discover the root cause of the disorder and helps him or her learn to manage the symptoms.  The therapy that is most effective in the treatment of anxiety disorders is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).  In CBT, “the cognitive part helps people change the thinking patterns that support their fears, and the behavioral part helps people change the way they react to anxiety-provoking situations” ([2], n.d.).

Finally, if, after reading this article, you feel as though you may have an anxiety disorder, seek help from an experienced mental health professional so that you can be properly diagnosed.  They can determine if your feelings are normal or not normal.  And if not normal, they can prescribe the medication(s) and therapy that is right for you.  Seek help and don’t be embarrassed or afraid.  For more information Click Here!.

 

References

Ankrom, Sheryl (2009).  What is Panic Disorder?  Learn the Basics of Panic Disorder.  Retrieved November 02, 2011, from About.com Web Site:  http://panicdisorder.about.com/od/understandingpanic/a/PanicBasics.htm

Cuncic, Arlin (2010).  Overview of Social Anxiety Disorder.  Retrieved November 02, 2011, from About.com Web Site:  http://socialanxietydisorder.about.com/od/overviewofsad/a/overview.htm

Kelly, Owen (2009).  Anxiety Disorder.  Retrieved October 31, 2011, from About.com Web Site:  http://ocd.about.com/od/glossary/g/anxiety_glos.htm

NIMH [2] (n.d.).  Anxiety Disorders.  Retrieved November 02, 2011, from National Institute of Mental Health Web Site:  http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/anxiety-disorders/nimhanxiety.pdf

NIMH [3] (n.d.).  Women and Mental Health.  Retrieved October 19, 2011, from National Institute of Mental Health Web Site:  http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/women-and-mental-health/index.shtml

NIMH [4] (n.d.).  Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, OCD.  Retrieved November 05, 2011, from National Institute of Mental Health Web Site:  http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd/index.shtml

Meek, William (2008).  Introduction to Generalized Anxiety Disorder.  What is GAD?  Retrieved November 02, 2011, from About.com Web Site:  http://gad.about.com/od/symptoms/a/overview.htm

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health; Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration [1] (2009).  Action Steps for Improving Women’s Mental Health.  Retrieved October 16, 2011, from womenshealth.gov Web Site:  http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/mental-health-action-steps/ and http://store.samhsa.gov/shin/content//OWH09-PROFESSIONAL/OWH09-PROFESSIONAL.pdf

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [5] (1999).  Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General.  Retrieved November 05, 2011, from surgeongeneral.gov Web Site:  http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/mentalhealth/chapter4/sec2.html

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