Anxiety disorders constitute
the most prevalent k...
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
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.