Anxiety Disorder

Essay by brandiwine2409College, UndergraduateA+, April 2004

download word file, 6 pages 3.4

Everyone has anxiety. It is a natural part of life. However, when it reaches the level where it disrupts your lifestyle it becomes a disorder. "Anxiety disorders are illnesses that fill peoples lives with overwhelming anxiety and fear that are chronic, unremitting, and can grow progressively worse," says Lucinda Basset author of "From Panic to Power." In the United States today, 19 million Americans suffer from anxiety disorders making it the most common mental illness.

What causes anxiety disorder? Anxiety disorders develop from several factors, including brain chemistry, genetics, family dynamics, traumatic events, and medical conditions. There have been a number of studies done using MRIs which have detected abnormalities in specific areas in the brain related to anxiety, according to the UC Davis Health Systems website. These suggest that an imbalance of certain neurotransmitters may contribute to anxiety. It was found that the chemical serotonin plays a major role in anxiety disorder patients.

Anxiety disorders also have been proven to be genetic. Forty percent of people diagnosed with anxiety have a close relative with the same disorder. The UC Davis report states that there is a particular interest in possible defective genes that regulate specific neurotransmitters, including serotonin and dopamine.

Furthermore, not only can genetics play a part in anxiety disorders, but family dynamics can also be the sources of ones anxiety. For example, panic disorders can develop when a person cannot resolve early childhood conflicts of dependence vs. independence. Also discussed in the US Davis report is how children learn fears and phobias from their parent's fears and phobias.

Traumatic events can most definitely trigger anxiety disorders. According to the Internet Mental Health Generalize Anxiety Disorder website, anxiety usually develop within the first month after exposure to an extreme trauma. These extreme traumatic events include rape, near-death experiences...