Anxiety disorders constitute the most prevalent kind of psychiatric disorders. According to DSM-5, anxiety disorders encompass other disorders that share characteristics of excessive fear and anxiety disturbances. Such disorders include social anxiety disorder, phobia, panic disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. In most cases, unrealistic and uncontrolled fear and anxiety characterize the anxiety disorders (Carlson, 2013). Anxiety disorders are associated with the occurrence of depressive and substance abuse conditions. In the article, Peterson and Pbert (1992) conducted a study to determine the efficacy of a group stress reduction program among patients with anxiety disorders. The study involved the application of mindfulness meditation as an evidence-based treatment of anxiety disorders. This paper will entail an analysis of the etiology and evidenced-based treatment options available for patients with anxiety disorders. It will also critique Peterson and Pbert’s (1992) research study and describe its limitations and strengths.
The DSM-V provides a range of symptoms evident in people with anxiety disorders. Some of the symptoms difficulties in concentration and sleeping, muscle tension, irritability and neurological symptoms such as numbness (First & Tasman, 2004). In the case of panic attacks, individuals experience episodic attacks that involve acute anxiety. The symptoms that characterize panic attacks include shortness of breath, inconsistencies in heartbeat and dizziness. The defining features of generalized anxiety disorder include exaggerated anxiety and worry and inability to control such symptoms leading to distress in life. Social anxiety disorder constitutes the excessive fear of exposure to the scrutiny of other people consequently leading to the avoidance of social situations. People with the condition tend to experience extreme anxiety and distress in cases where they cannot avoid such situations (Carlson, 2013).
Research on the etiology of anxiety disorders associates it with hereditary elements. The DSM-IV attributes anxiety disorders to the interaction of biopsychosocial aspects such as genetic vulnerability that interact with risk factors including the environment and stress to prompt the occurrence of the disorders (First & Tasman, 2004). Numerous studies suggest that environmental factors are involved in the development and continuity of anxiety disorders. However, most of the research tests utilized are obsolete, and the nature of experimental designs acts as limitations in the research. The occurrence of negative life events includes one of the documented risk factors for anxiety disorders. Researchers affirm that their occurrence in an unpredictable manner can increase the risk of developing the disorder. Problems in the family including conflicts and abuses are chronic stress-inducing events that are an etiological factor for anxiety disorders. Research also documents other environmental variables such as childhood separation, deprivation of social interactions, lack of satisfaction and role inversion during childhood as etiological factors for the disorder (First & Tasman, 2004).
A range of treatment options are provided to patients with anxiety disorders including medication and therapeutic interventions. Medications prescribed are benzodiazepines that include Xanax and Valium. Although they reduce the severity of the symptoms in the short-term, they tend to cause dependency problems among many patients. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors including Prozac and Celexa are also effective pharmaceutical treatment options for anxiety disorders (First & Tasman, 2004). Therapeutic interventions are preferred treatment methods for the disorder since they are evidenced-based. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) consists one of the highly appraised evidenced-based treatments of anxiety disorders. The treatment approach operates on the premise that an individual’s behavior and emotions receive undue influence from both thoughts and perceptions of situations. CBT confirms the schemas or intrinsic beliefs that people possess develop at the early stages of life and consist of basic thinking patterns developed through personal experiences. The evidence-based treatment strives to enable a person to identify the erratic beliefs and thoughts that elicit cognitive distortions such as anxiety. It provides a replacement for cognitive distortions with healthy and adaptive mechanisms of coping.
Peterson and Pbert (1992) conducted a study to establish the efficacy of the application of group stress reduction program in the treatment of patients with anxiety disorders. The study featured twenty-two participants who were screened to ensure they experienced generalized anxiety disorder based on DSM-III’s criteria. Assessments were evaluated on a weekly basis for the implications of meditation-based stress reduction and relaxation interventions. According to the outcome, mindfulness meditation training programs are effective in reducing symptoms of anxiety and panic.
The sample utilized constitutes a representative of the study population. Peterson and Pbert (1992) screened the selected participants and ensured that they met the DSM-III criteria for the diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorders. However, the DSM basis is a dynamic standard for the assessment of psychiatric disorders, and the research may have used an obsolete system. The study fails to account for the implications of gender on the outcome. Gender is associated with emotional differences that may have an effect on the efficacy of the evidenced-based treatment intervention for anxiety disorders. Peterson and Pbert (1992) fail to consider the impact of other variables such as personality factors on the outcome of the intervention.
In conclusion, anxiety disorders include a prevalent psychiatric disorder that requires the application of evidence-based treatments. Cognitive behavioral therapy includes one of the well-researched treatment approaches for the disorders with favorable outcomes. The research critique indicates the efficacy of meditation as an evidence-based treatment despite the limitations associated with the study.