NCLEX Reviewer | Anxiety Disorder

• Anxiety is a universal feeling; everyone experiences it at some time to some degree.
• Anxiety disorders are the most commonly seen psychiatric disorder.

• These are classified as mild, moderate, or severe depending on the signs and symptoms.
• They can occur at any age and are more prevalent in women than men.

• Exact cause is unknown, often a combination of factors are involved.
• Several theories exist for the etiology of anxiety disorders.
• Biological factors
—Genetic predispostition is partially related to some anxiety disorders.
—Anxiety can result from improper functioning of the body systems responsible for the normal stress response.
—Some neurotransmitters have been associated with anxiety.
—Changes in the brain may be the origin of some anxiey disorders.
• Psychological factors
—The number and severity of stressors may overwhelm unconscious defense mechanisms and become dysfunctional.
—There is a correlation between parents’ fears and those of children lending to the theory that fearful reactions are learned.

Signs and Symptoms:
• Varies according to the specific disorder

• There are no diagnostic tests that definitively confirm anxiety
disorders. Diagnosis is based upon manifestations of the disease with data obtained from a mental-status examination, psychiatric history, and careful clinical observation
• A thorough physical and psychiatric evaluation is needed to rule out other possible causes of the symptoms such as a brain tumor or thyroid disorder
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