oa SA Pharmaceutical Journal - The power of anxiety : clinical



The thalamus, hippocampus and amygdala are all structures that respond to the perception of danger stimuli. <BR>Anxiety disorders include the various forms of phobia, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and generalised anxiety disorder. The central feature of panic is an overwhelming and powerful element in all these disorders. The frontal or thinking and planning areas of the brain are significantly excluded in the presence of the arousal process triggered by anxiety, as their functioning could delay and interfere with a speedy response to danger. <BR>The power of anxiety will overwhelm any rational thought that might have been lodged in the frontal areas. <BR>Most classes of antidepressant have panic-blocking properties, the mode of action being very poorly understood. <BR>Cognitive behaviour therapeutic intervention is directed towards better anxiety management rather than towards original causes or putative precipitating events. <BR>Outcomes studies in the treatment of anxiety disorders demonstrate that combined therapy in the form of antidepressant medication and cognitive behaviour therapy has the best outcome. <BR>Whereas anxiety forces an individual to monitor the danger in the external environment, cognitive behaviour therapy redirects the individual to monitor and manage their internal environment in situations of varying anxiety intensity.


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