A Case Study:
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Generalized anxiety disorder is a paralyzing mental disorder that causes an individual to be plagued with a constant and overwhelming sense of anxiety from any number of sources throughout their daily experiences. This anxiety is crippling because it affects the individual’s ability to function in daily tasks. This case study focuses on Rachel, a 22-year old college senior with a long history of reoccurring anxiety and debilitating symptoms that affect her daily functioning at school, work, and in her personal relationships. Keywords: Generalized anxiety disorder, anxiety, symptoms
Generalized anxiety disorder, often abbreviated GAD, is characterized from other anxiety disorders by its prevalence in an individual’s daily life. Excessive anxiety and worry will occur on a daily basis more often than not for individuals suffering from generalized anxiety disorder and in most cases the anxiety will last for at least 6 months. There is no specific focus of the anxiety and it can range from future events to past mistakes, an individual’s own health or that of their loved ones, their performance at work or school and any number of other areas of life (Beidel, D.C. et al., 2014). This is an uncontrollable anxiety that is often found in individuals who already suffer from another anxiety or depressive disorder such as panic disorder. Symptoms most often include complaints of an individual becoming easily fatigued, difficulty concentrating, sleep disturbance, irritability, headaches, stomachaches, etc. (Beidel, D.C. et al., 2014). When paired with an additional disorder like that of panic disorder or social anxiety disorder symptoms may also include excessive sweating, trembling or shaking, chest pain, accelerated heart rate, nausea, shortness of breath and avoidance of circumstances or situations which cause the feelings of anxiety (Beidel, D.C. et al., 2014). Generalized anxiety disorder is a chronic and reoccurring disorder that can persist for many years even with proper and successful treatment. While generalized anxiety disorder affects both sexes equally, it is more common in adults than children, usually beginning in the late teens and early twenties. When diagnosed in children, generalized anxiety disorder is usually expressed with feelings of apprehension and a negative self-image that manifests a need for reassurance (Beidel, D.C. et al., 2014). Many individuals will seek treatment and while they find success in managing their anxiety the symptoms persist. It is not that the treatment has “cured” their disorder; it may simply be that it has shown them techniques or methods that can be used to successfully manage their daily anxieties. The treatment is deemed successful because management of the anxiety eliminates the persistent disruption in an individual’s daily activities. It allows for them to function in day to day tasks which are necessary for an individual to hold a job, maintain healthy relationships with family and friends, and lessen the prevalence of their symptoms manifesting in ways that would be a detriment to their physiological health (Beidel, D.C. et al., 2014). Background Information and History of the Problem
Rachel was a bright, attractive girl in her early twenties, living in an apartment with three other roommates and attempting to finish out her final semester of college. Her parents had divorced when she was six years old, causing bouts of intense arguments and periods of yelling in the household. During these times she would often find herself being distracted from the situation by her older brother or simply sitting in her room with a stuffed animal until the arguments were done. There were a few times however, when she and her brother were caught amid the arguments, each trying to calm one parent or the other to get the argument to stop. After these encounters, Rachel would...
References: Anxiety Disorders. (2014). In National Institute of Mental Health. Retrieved March 10, 2014, from http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/anxiety-disorders/index.shtml?wvsessionid=wv650bd43245ce405884dd789794894544
Beidel, D. C., Bulik, C. M., & Stanley, M. A. (2014). Abnormal Psychology (Third ed., pp. 118-123). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.
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