Anxiety has been one of the worst experiences of my life. Writing this reflection, generates feelings that I have bottled up daily dealing with this disorder. Anxiety has ostracised me from so many things since I received my diagnoses in 2014. At 21, I thought I was on top of the world; the birth of my son, in school, living on my own, I thought everything was coming together. However, everything changed when I experienced my first panic attack at just 21 years of age. I was out with my family like any other weekend bonding when suddenly the lights seemed too bright, my heart began to race and immediately, felt really nauseated. It got so bad that I ended up falling to my knees and fainting in the store. When I came around I was covered with so many people around. At first, I thought that I experienced a situation in which I was extreme fatigue and simply dehydrated however, for years to come, I had several ‘episodes’ that got progressively worse.
In continuation, I was rushed to ER 26 times because of the severity of my condition.My physiological and psychological health was so affected, I was willing to do anything to end my life and not feel this horrible pain. It wouldn’t be until 3 years later that I was officially diagnosed with panic disorder. Although I was able to receive the diagnoses that I was looking for, it was too late.
I was deep in a spiral of anxiety and soon I couldn’t drive on certain highways that did not have hospitals within 10 miles. Being a dance major, I couldn’t even dance without panicking. My anxiety became so debilitating, ultimately, developed severe agoraphobia. For years, I was continually prescribed antidepressants and offered psychotherapy that embarked me on a long journey towards combating my anxiety. going into situations that induced panic attacks on a daily basis to try and insure myself against them.In total it has taken me eight years and many relapses to get to a point where now I can go places without worrying if a hospital is nearby. A point where I can dance a little bit without worrying about my heart rate increasing in a negative way. It has been a long journey however, the right antidepressant and exposure therapy is working. I now travel freely and haven’t experienced a major panic attack for 6 months, although I do suffer with depression and generalised anxiety. Personally, I found knowing what’s physically happening during an attack has helped me to get through an attack but most of all getting me back on track to a more healthy lifestyle.
Evidence-Based Practice for Clients with Anxiety Disorders
Evidence-Based Practice for Clients with Anxiety Disorder, is a chapter that focuses on the many forms of anxiety and the evidence-based treatment that is used to combat them. Furthermore, this chapter focuses on the epidemiological evidence, which suggests that anxiety is a common and major problem in later life. Anxiety according to the text, “Anxiety is a state of tension and apprehension that is an uncomfortable but ordinary human response to a threatening situation”(Kaplan & Sadock, 1998). However, when this tension and apprehension creeps into everyday life, it develops into what we know as social workers, a psychiatric disorder. What is most interesting about this text is that although there are many interventions that help combat anxiety there are two problems main issues that are intertwined with in the text; cost and age. Look into cost, the text states that “ Anxiety disorders have a high prevalence and associated disability thus represents a high cost to society.
The annual cost of anxiety disorders in the United States is approximately $42 billion for which more than half of the direct and indirect costs involve nonpsychiatric medical treatment”(Greenberg et al., 1999). This information is very problematic because mental health should not be looked at as a “high” cost to society however more so investing more time in research to see what is increasing anxiety disorders across the country. As we look at the increase of these disorders we should look at them as a “ human” burden more so an economical burden. Lastly, as social workers, I feel that we should spend more time supporting the changing evidence of today’s anxiety disorders and the treatments we are using.
When looking at a client’s age and its relativity to anxiety disorders, I struggle with the textual references throughout. According to the chapter and as stated in the introduction above, “Epidemiological evidence suggests that anxiety is a common and major problem in later life, yet this has received less attention than depressive disorders” (Diala & Muntaner, 2003). Although I agree with the latter part of this text, it is the insulation that anxiety more commonly affects older adults I disagree with. Furthermore in another secondary article, there have been independent studies to suggest that this same information. According to the Personality Disorders and Coping Among Anxious Older Adults, the journalist, the journalist states “ At least one anxiey disorder was found in 61% of the older persons group; obsessive-compulsive, schizoid, and avoidant were the most frequently assigned personality disorders”(Averill, M., & Beck, J. G. (2000). If over 61% of adults are experiencing some type of anxiety disorder, Why are we not conducting to see if there are any childhood connections?
Furthermore why are both text and studies concluding that anxiety disorders mostly occur in adulthood? This is very problematic for me because I feel that critical details are being missed for early childhood diagnoses of anxiety disorders. I also feel that this is one of the contributing factors included in the high percentage of adults who have anxiety disorders. What I would want to see in future studies are more research done on children and adolescents and anxiety disorders and the effects in adulthood. Lasty, I feel that this would help decrease anxiety disorders and help combat this mental illness.
This was an amazing chapter and a great read because it was easy to reflect as well as learn needed information for myself and future clients. What I would like to see when working with clients in the future is new studies as well as interventions that will help combat anxiety disorders that have such an effect on daily functions. Lastly, I want to be a contributor to change in how we approach this disorder so that there is future hope for someone who feels that current treatment no longer works.
- Averill, M., & Beck, J. G. (2000). Posttraumatic stress disorder in older adults: A conceptual review. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 14, 133-156.
- Marrick, P., & Petters, L. (1988). Treatment of severe social phobia: Effects of guided exposure with and without cognitive restructuring. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 56, 251-260
- Sands, G., & Gellis, Z. D. (2012): Chapter 9