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The Effects of Anxiety on the Successful Achievement of Erikson's Life Tasks During Developmental Stages of the Lifespan the Lifespan

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According to the Anxiety Disorders Association of America, "Generalized Anxiety Disorder affects 6.8 million adults or 3.1% of the U. S. population. Women are twice as likely to be affected". (Anxiety This paper will examine the disorder itself and also the causes, symptoms diagnosis and treatment. This paper will explain the different stages of the lifespan according to Erik Erikson and will analyze each of the eight stages and how they may or may not be impacted by the disorder. Finally, this paper will answer the question whether or not a person with Generalized Anxiety Disorder can live a completely fulfilled life according to Erikson's life span theory of development. The purpose of this paper is to find the effects of anxiety on the successful achievement of Erikson's life tasks during developmental stages of the lifespan.

The Effects of Anxiety on the Successful Achievement of Erikson's Life Tasks During Developmental Stages of the Lifespan the Lifespan

Anxiety is a feeling of nervousness, apprehension fear or worry. Sometimes these fears and worries are justified, such as the fear when preparing for life changing events, taking an exam or worrying about an ill loved one. General Anxiety Disorder is an excessive and exaggerated worry and fear about everyday life events with no apparent reason. People with Generalized Anxiety Disorder expect the worst or disaster in every situation and cannot stop worrying about their health, family, school, work or money. For people with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, the worry is real but in reality the worry is unrealistic or blown out of proportion for that situation. For sufferers of this disorder, daily life is a constant worry and dread. The anxiety eventually becomes so dominant in the person's thoughts that it interferes with daily tasks like work, school, social interactions and relationships. (Hauser, 2005).

The specific cause of Generalized Anxiety Disorder is unknown. There are many contributing factors thought to cause the disorder, but are not known to be the sole cause of the development of the disorder. According to the Anxiety Disorders Association of America (n. d.), 5% of Americans will develop Generalized Anxiety Disorder at some time in their lives due to biological factors, their familial background and/or life experiences. The first factor we will discuss is Genetic vulnerability. Genetic vulnerability is the concept that people may have a genetic predisposition to develop Generalized Anxiety Disorder when certain factors are presented. The gene or set of genes responsible for this disorder are thought to be present yet dormant for a person's lifetime as long as other contributing factors are not experienced. A person who is raised with an anxious role model may have learned to fear the world and see it as a dangerous place.

Another cause of Generalized Anxiety Disorder is Brain chemistry. Abnormal levels of certain neurotransmitters in the brain have also been linked to Generalized Anxiety Disorder. These neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that are responsible for the movement of information from one nerve cell to another. If these messengers are imbalanced, the messages they are tasked with sending will not pass through the brain properly. This breakdown alters the brains reaction to certain situations, resulting in anxiety (Stanford University Medical Center, 2010).

Lastly, environmental factors can be a cause of Generalized Anxiety Disorder. This factor encompasses a vast variety of factors that a person will face in a lifetime. Trauma and stressful events like abuse, divorce, death of a loved one, moving, changing jobs or schools or losing a job can all lead to Generalized Anxiety Disorder. The disorder can become worse during periods of stress. Generalized Anxiety Disorder can also be worsened with the use of addictive substances like caffeine, nicotine, alcohol or other narcotics. The withdrawal from the use of these same substances can also worsen the symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder. (Generalized Anxiety Disorder, 2011).

Generalized Anxiety Disorder is much more than the day to day anxiety people face. Sometimes the simple thought of going through the day provokes anxiety in people with this disorder. They are unable to shake their fears or worries and many times they are aware that their worries and concerns are far more than the situation calls for but are unable to stop their feelings. For sufferers of this disorder, relaxing is a difficult task and they often have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep once they have finally fallen asleep. Their worries can also be accompanied by physical symptoms like trembling, twitches, headaches, stomach problems, irritability, profuse sweating, hot flashes, light headedness or shortness of breath. Some sufferers also experience chronic nausea. A person with Generalized Anxiety Disorder can be startled much easier than those without the disorder. Due to lack of sleep, they tend to be tired often, have trouble concentrating on tasks and may also battle depression.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder is diagnosed by doctor. Symptoms must be present for a proper examination to be done. Although there are no lab tests done for this diagnosis, doctors are able to use a battery of other tests to look for physical illness as the cause. A diagnosis of Generalized Anxiety Disorder is based on the patient's report of severity and duration of the symptoms. The doctor will also be interested in any issues or problems the symptoms may cause a person's functioning. The patient is diagnosed with the disorder if within a six month period the symptoms are present more days than they are not. Another major factor in the diagnosis is whether or not these symptoms interfere with the patient's daily life and prevents the patient from attending school or work on a daily basis. Once it is determined that a physical illness is not the cause of the experienced symptoms, the doctor will refer the patient to a Psychiatrist or Psychologist for official diagnosing and treatment of the disorder.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder is typically treated with a combination of medication and behavior therapy. There are many types of medications that can be used to treat anxiety disorders that interfere with a person's ability to function daily. Most often, benzodiazepines such as Xanax, and Valium are used to treat physical symptoms such as restlessness and tension. These medicines are used for short term treatment. They are a class of medications often called "tranquilizers" because they leave the patient relaxed upon receiving them. Antidepressants



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