Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Self-Administered Test on Anxiety, Phobia and Depression
Abe V Rotor
1. All of us are invariably victims of anxiety. Our aging parents, retirement benefits, sex life, health – name it, real or imaginary – and you have it, irrespective of sex, age, domicile, profession, work, race, creed, etc.
2. There is something mysterious about anxiety, its dualism. It is a normal response to physical danger so that it can be a useful tool for focusing the mind where there’s a deadline looming. But anxiety can become a problem when it persists to long beyond the immediate threat, which leads to depression.
3. While we worry for certain things and situations, other people simply don’t - they simply don’t care.
4. People who are mediocre – more so if they did not reach higher education – are more subject to anxiety than intelligent and highly learned people.
5. Uneasiness, lightheadedness, clumsiness are the first signs of anxiety.
6. Nausea, panic, fears of losing control or dying are advanced signs and symptoms of anxiety.
7. Sweaty and cold palms and feet may be due to nervousness which is a natural reaction.
8. Dizziness, blurred vision, chest pain are some psychosomatic symptoms.
9. Many of the things we worry about are baseless, if not nonsense.
10. Animals appear to feel anxiety – an instinctive response necessary for survival.
11. Rats and chicken freeze in place momentarily when subjected to sudden fear stimulus. The opossum feigns dead which is actually an involuntary fear response.
12. Anxiety helped in human evolution. Records of anxiety show how humans shared the planet with saber-toothed tigers. Without it few of us would have survive, if at all.
13. Mass anxiety humans suffered during the two world wars was revived by terrorism which attacked the Twin Towers of New York.
14. Anxiety disorder affects 19 million Americans, 25% not having any medical treatment. It is steadily rising in all countries where Western influence is getting stronger.
15. Mental illnesses account for 5 of the 10 leading causes of disability in Asia.
16. In Cambodia an estimated 75% of adults who lived through the Khmer Rouge era suffer from extreme stress or post traumatic stress disorder.
17. Highest rate of suicide: Sri Lanka per 100,000 – 55; followed bt Japan (25.2; S Korea – 19.1; China 17-20; Singapore, India, Thailand, Australia, US and Britain
18. Schizophrenia is a psychotic disorder that severely alters the way a person actually thinks and behaves hallucinations, delusions, confusion, withdrawal, agitation, emotional numbness – about 50 percent of patient can expect a full and lasting recovery
19. According to Sigmund Freud, one kind of phobia may be more biological in nature, while another may be more dependent on psychological factors.
20. Stress – any external stimulus from threatening words to a gunshot, that the brain interprets as dangerous.
21. Fear – The short-term physiological response produced by both the brain and the body in response to stress.
22. Anxiety – A sense of apprehension that shares many of the same symptoms as fear but builds more slowly and lingers longer.
23. Depression – Prolonged sadness that results in a blunting of emotions and sense of futility; often more serious when accompanied by an anxiety disorder.
24. Panic disorder – This is recurrent, unexpected attacks of acute anxiety, peaking within 10 minutes. One finds himself in a situation such as in a crowded elevator. If extreme anxiety symptoms appear, the person may be suffering of anxiety disorder that needs medical consultation, even if this is occasionally experienced.
25. Specific Phobia – This is characterized by consuming fear of a specific object or situation, often accompanied by mild to extreme anxiety symptoms. It may just be plain hate, or fear, say heights. Behavioral therapy – gradual introduction of the cause, until enough courage is built; and cognitive therapy – re-orientation of perception or behavior, may be needed independently or jointly.
26. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder - a preoccupation with specific thoughts, images or impulses, accompanied by elaborate and sometimes bizarre rituals. Even if they are irrational thoughts, repetitive ritual (e.g. hand washing, prayer), time consuming – researchers are certain whether of not OCD is genuine anxiety. Whatever it is, it does respond to treatment.
27. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder – repeated, anxious reliving of a horrifying event over an extended period of time. It is not anxiety if the experience fades away steadily, but if it may persist, and sometimes PTSD will not appear until six months after the event. This is caused by recurrent recollection or dream of the event, feeling the even to be still occurring, experience reminding you of the event, and difficulty in avoiding thought associated with it.
28. Generalized Anxiety Disorder – Excessive anxiety or worry for days or months, but does not affect quality of life. Characterized by restlessness, difficulty concentrating or sleeping, irritability, fatigue, muscle tension. Have three or more of these symptoms confirm a person is suffering of GAD.
29. Anxiety is inherited, thus children suffering of anxiety are most likely candidates of depression. Some people seem to be born worriers. Some anxiety disorders are known to run in the family. If the genes involved are reinforced by environment, the expression become more distinct. (Nature-nurture)
30. Identical twins are more likely show stronger tendency to suffer from generalized anxiety disorder. However, even one with low genetic vulnerability could develop a fear of something that may even be greater than one with high genetic vulnerability.
31. Many kids may outgrow their anxiety disorder to become well-adjusted adults. Anxiety and depression have similar underlying biology. Anxiety may surface early in life and depression later. But researchers are divided in this observation.
32. Anatomy of anxiety as explained to the ordinary citizen goes like this - The senses pick up a threat – a scary sight, a loud noise, a creepy feeling – the information takes two different routes through the brain – but it takes the shortcut – the brains automatically engages an emergency hot line to the fear center – the amygdala
33. FFF (Fight, Flight, Fright) - Adrenaline shoots into the muscles preparing the body to do the appropriate action.
34. Digestion Shutdown – Brains stops thinking about things that bring pleasure, conserve energy otherwise wasted on digestion, hence vomiting, defecation, urination may occur.
35. Behavioral therapy – Best for phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder. Panic disorder is to expose patients to a tiny bit of the very thing that causes them anxiety.
36. Cognitive therapy– rethinking, behavior modification through proper advice.
37. Tranquilizers – Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft are best known among the antidepressant drugs, the newest group is norepinephrine which control emotion and stabilize mood. There is need of doctors’ prescription for all these drugs.
38. The most practical therapy is exercise – talk therapy, simple exercise (at least 30 minutes), brisk walk. Exercise releases natural opiates called endorphins.
39. Lifestyle Changes which include cut back or eliminate the use of sugar, caffeine, alcohol, and recreational drugs, are helpful in overcoming anxiety.
40. Actually yoga, meditation, guided imagery, aromatherapy, massage have any
therapeutic value to anxiety.
41. Troubled lives in our modern and industrialized world has lead to increased divorced rate in Asia - highest in S Korea, H King, Japan. Singapore and China in decreasing in this order.
42. In Western countries, it is the man who normally initiate divorce; in Asia it is the woman.
43. Identify the following phobias: Ablutophobia – fear of bathing
44. Acrophobia – heights
45. Agarophobia – open space
46. Agyrophobia or dromophobia – crossing the street
47. Amaxophobia – riding in a car
48. Ambulophobia – walking
49. Aviophobia – fear of flying
50. Androphobia – men
51. Gamophobia – marriage
52. Ecclesiophobia – church
53. Gerascophobia – growing old
54. Hagiophobia – saints and holy things
55. Anthophobia - flowers
Answers: All True
Reference: The Science of Anxiety Time 39 to 47 pp July 8, 2002
Lost Lives Time November 10, 2003
What Scares you? Phobias Time April 2, 2001