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Anxiety disorders and obsessive compulsive disorder

Video transcript

while we have all felt anxiety at one point or another for a few of us and make a little bit further than that for some members of the population their anxiety would actually meet the definition of what we call anxiety disorders anxiety disorders are characterized by distressing persistent anxiety and we're going to focus on five of them first one we're going to talk about is generalized anxiety disorder which I'm going to abbreviate here is GA d and this disorder is used to describe a person whose general state is one that is continually tense and uneasy so the person is incredibly tense they're apprehensive they worry constantly enough so that it actually starts to influence their lives in the sense that they're sleep-deprived or maybe they don't eat well and to be classified as generalized anxiety disorder this anxiety must last six months or more so let's go over a few more interesting things about this disorder one of them is that it actually has identifiable physical symptoms in particular things like a furrowed brow or twitching eyelids or trembling or just general fidgeting another interesting thing about this disorder is the population that it affects specifically and mostly seems to be present in women in fact two-thirds of the population that has this disorder are female another thing about generalized anxiety disorder is that the source of the anxiety is not always clear so there's an unclear source meaning that in general people with generalized anxiety disorders often can't identify and therefore deal with or avoid the cause of their stress and therefore the cause of the disorder and eventually if this continues over a long period of time this constant worry can actually wreak havoc on someone's body and it can eventually lead to things like high blood pressure and other more serious symptoms another thing that I'll point out because this might come up later is that sometimes disorders can be present at the same time as other disorders and in the case of generalized anxiety disorders it seems that people with this disorder seem to also have a diagnosis of depression so let me sort of draw dotted line here and I'll write depression run underneath it so depression isn't part of generalized anxiety disorder but sometimes seems to go along with it the next type of anxiety disorder that I want to talk about are panic disorders while generalized anxiety disorder is a continuous fairly high level of anxiety panic disorders are a sudden burst of sheer panic and intense fear and usually we refer to these episodes as panic attacks and these attacks can last for minutes or sometimes longer although apparently they feel like they're a lot longer and they can be associated with a number of different physical symptoms things like heart palpitations and sweating and chest pain and shortness of breath some people report feeling that the walls around them are closing in on them and perhaps not surprisingly people who have panic attacks sometimes think that they might be suffering from a heart attack so let's write some of these things down so panic attacks are sudden they're intense and just like with generalized anxiety disorders panic disorders aren't simply some kind of solely psychological phenomenon there are physical symptoms as well and one thing to keep in mind for panic disorders is that these panic attacks are usually in response to situations that don't necessarily warrant that kind of stress and by that I mean that there might be situations where that level of panicking might be appropriate perhaps if someone were to break into your house or if you were being attacked by someone but this type of panic goes above and beyond those symptoms and it is also in response to different triggers that might have meaning only to the person who is suffering from panic attacks let's move on to phobias and phobias are cases where a person is irrationally afraid of specific objects or specific situations and so unlike the other two disorders that we've talked about so far this is focused anxiety in depending on what that anxiety is focused on people can either live fairly normal lives so someone who has a fear of snakes probably doesn't actually come across snakes that often but it can also be extremely debilitating so imagine the life of someone who has a phobia about leaving their own home another interesting thing about phobias is that they tend to follow a pattern and by that I mean that people seem to have phobias about specific subtypes of things that that doesn't mean that someone can't have a phobia about something incredibly random maybe a thumbtack but in general phobias are typically associated with fear of animals also insects things like blood or enclosed spaces fear of heights is also a common one and as I said these aren't the only phobias but these are some fairly common ones and as you can probably imagine people with these kinds of phobias typically get by by avoiding these objects or by avoiding situations where they could possibly come into contact with the focus of their phobia however there are some other kinds of phobias that are not so easy to avoid for example social phobias and as you have probably figured out social phobias include fear of different social situations so they could for example manifest in an incredibly intense shyness or maybe an intense fear of being scrutinized by others and so individuals with social phobias will try to avoid situations where they have to talk to people or where they feel like they might be judged when they might try to avoid any situation that they might lead to embarrassment let's move on to our next anxiety disorder which is obsessive compulsive disorder which I'm going to write here is OCD and this is a disorder that is characterized by unwanted repetitive thoughts which are referred to as obsessions and also unwanted repetitive actions which are referred to as compulsions and I think we probably all have a few behaviors in our lives that might fall under one of these headings for example I know that I like to double check to make sure that my doors locked or that my oven is off and if I don't do these things I actually feel pretty uneasy however once I check once I look to make sure that my oven is off or once I touch the doorknob to ensure that the door is locked then the worry is gone it doesn't continue to occupy space in my mind and I no longer think about it and that's where my behavior and my thought patterns differ from those who have obsessive compulsive disorder because for these individuals their obsessions and their compulsions persistently interfere with their everyday life and wind up causing serious distress so touching something rose and then spending a minute washing your hands that's fine but continuously washing your hands multiple times throughout the day so much so that your skin becomes raw that behavior is a problem and there are a couple of common obsessions that people typically seem to focus on when is that concern with dirt or toxins so concern that things are dirty another is an intense fear that something terrible is about to happen I'm going to write that down as bad future so maybe they're constantly worried about someone in their family being sick or having an accident and while I think we all worry about that at one point or another for people with obsessive compulsive disorder these thoughts sort of invade their head and I think about them so much that it prevents them from thinking about other things another common obsession is a need for symmetry and this might be a stereotype of obsessive-compulsive disorder that you've heard about before but this describes cases where people feel uncomfortable unless the things around them are ordered and I think that this makes a little bit of sense if you think about it I know that when I see one book that's leaning on a different angle in my bookshelf and all the other ones it sort of bothers me I sort of feel like I have to fix it but I also don't think that anything bad is going to happen if I don't fix it and it's not going to stay with me once I walk out of the room I'm probably no longer thinking about that book or that book case for those who have this type of obsession though thoughts and worries about symmetry and order will continue to bother them throughout the day to the point where they won't be able to think about or focus on other details of their lives there are also a number of common compulsions and I'll write these underneath one of them has to do with washing and this one included intense need that people might have to wash their hands or to bathe or to groom in some way another compulsion is one that I sort of mentioned before which is feeling the constant need to check doors or locks or appliances but unlike just checking them once and then thinking it's fine and walking away people who have this type of compulsion might have to repeatedly check to make sure that everything is turned off or law and you can imagine how this might affect someone let's say that you really need to get to class so you get your backpack you run out the door and then you wonder whether or not you lock that door and so you go back and check and then you check again and this behavior continues so much so that it interferes with your daily life I'm going to summarize this as just putting down checking and another type of common compulsion is what I'm going to refer to as a movement ritual and this would include things like feeling need to repeatedly stand up and sit down on a chair or enter and leave a room or maybe feeling a continuous need to tap on a desk and this disorder is actually not all that in common some research I found suspects that two to three percent of people will meet the criteria for obsessive-compulsive disorder at least once in their life interestingly this mostly includes teens and young adults the last anxiety disorder that I'm going to talk about is post-traumatic stress disorder which I'm going to write here is PTSD and this describes a situation when a person has lingering memories and nightmares about a past event so much so that it negatively impacts their daily life so it's characterized by haunting memories and repeated nightmares it also includes other physical symptoms like insomnia and unlike the other disorders that we've talked about so far PTSD typically has some kind of a trigger or something that leads the disorder so soldiers coming home for more where they've seen atrocities or survivors of terrible accidents or someone who has been as to disaster like 9/11 things like violent and sexual assaults all of these things can lead to this disorder and while any of those situations might initially cause these symptoms it's described as PTSD when these symptoms persist for over four weeks meaning that it's probably not that surprising if you have nightmares immediately after witnessing something terrifying however for most people those nightmares would eventually stop or become incredibly infrequent for individuals with PTSD these symptoms can continue well after the event has passed