Causes of Anxiety Disorders and the Best Treatment Methods

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Abstract

With 20% of America’s population suffering from one anxiety disorder or another each year, these ailments need to be addressed and treated as effectively as possible. Anxiety causes a significant increase in a person’s risks for other health issues including substance abuse, heart disease, and more (News in Health, 2016). With such dire statistics, it is immensely important that we take anxiety disorders seriously and utilize the best treatment methods at our disposal whether developed from the cognitive or behavioral perspective.

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This paper will analyze why these theoretical perspectives are most relevant to anxiety disorders, which has resulted in the most effective treatment methods, and what could lead to the development of such disorders in the first place.

According to News in Health (2016), anxiety disorders plague 1 in every 5 people in the United states each year, which is approximately 20% of our population. Such disorders can be incredibly crippling to those who struggle with them and include feelings of uncertainty and apprehension, both of which are severe enough to interfere with day-to-day life. As if that’s not enough, anxiety disorders also increase the risk for a multitude of other medical conditions, including but not limited to: heart disease, depression, diabetes, and substance abuse (News in Health, 2016). generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) has been a huge part of my life since I was about 10 years old, and I feel that it is important to understand what causes it and what the best treatment methods are, especially within the cognitive and behavioral theories.

Relevant Theoretical Perspectives

Spielman (2017) says the cognitive theory assumes that our thought processes affect the way in which we behave (p. 631). More specifically, it ascertains that anxiety disorders especially panic disorder are acquired through cognitive misinterpretations of anxiety and other symptoms (Spielman, 2017, p. 641). To exemplify the cognitive theory, let’s take a look at how it would explain the symptoms of social anxiety. Persons who suffer with this disorder will frequently underestimate how well they can manage social situations, overestimate how vulnerable they are to the threat at hand, consistently expect negative results from social interactions, and thus overestimate how severe the consequences of such outcomes will be. Additionally, the anxious party will typically focus more on the ways in which the other party could be judging them instead of how the interaction is actually unfolding, thus causing them to make their best effort to avoid interacting with others altogether. (Andrew Kukes Foundation for Social Anxiety [AKFSA], 2018). The facts displayed in this scenario are excellent examples of how our thought processes and emotions, or cognitions, blow things out of proportion and cause unhealthy levels of anxiety in our brains.

Spielman says that the behavioral theory,

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