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People experience anxiety in different ways and for a
variety of reasons that are all determined by their individual experiences. Anxiety
accounts for the highest percentage of mental disorders in America, especially
in such hard times. According to The Anxiety Disorders Association of America, 6.8
million people in the U.S. will suffer from an anxiety disorder in their
lifetime. Symptoms of anxiety vary in severity and from person to person. Some
patients will experience mild symptoms including nervousness, sweating and
fear, but others have full blown attacks that include heart palpitations,
dizziness, heavy breathing and fainting. Psychologists are charged with
determining the specific type of anxiety a patient is experiencing by getting
to the root of the symptoms.
The American Psychological Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders lists several types of anxiety starting
with the most common form called General Anxiety Disorder or GAD. Patients who
suffer with this type of anxiety struggle with chronic worry that won’t go away
despite the fact that it is irrational. Symptoms of General Anxiety Disorder include
chronic worry, insomnia, gastrointestinal maladies, lack of concentration,
irritability and muscle tension in the back and shoulder area.
Another form of anxiety is Social Anxiety Disorder, which
involves the fear of group situations and everyday socializing. This disorder centers around the fear of
rejection from others and causes people to become withdrawn and avoid interaction.
After someone experiences a traumatic event such as an
accident, he or she may get Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Feelings of
helplessness and agitation are accompanied by flashbacks, nightmares and
insomnia. Soldiers often get this
disorder after spending time in a war zone.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder deals with obsessions and
disturbing thought patterns. Someone with this disorder may have recurring dark
thoughts or fantasies. Other patients may experience the urgent need to perform
certain functions such as hand washing, hoarding and knob turning to stop anxiety.
Panic Disorder is usually considered the worst form of
anxiety for sufferers. In addition to the already unpleasant symptoms of worry
and muscle tension, patients with Panic Disorder experience intense fear that
borders on hysteria. Physical symptoms include hyperventilation, rapid
heartbeat, sweating, dizziness, fainting, and more that lasts about 10 to 15
minutes at a time.
Anxiety is often treated with a combination of medications
and psychotherapy, and can be managed with time.
Drawing upon our more than 30-year history of granting degrees in professional psychology, Argosy University has developed a curriculum that focuses on interpersonal skills and practical experience alongside academic learning. Because getting a degree is one thing. Succeeding, quite another.
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