Anxiety Disorders : Role of Nurses

Anxiety is a normal human emotion that everyone experiences at times. Many people feel anxious, or nervous, when faced with a problem at work, before taking a test, or making an important decision. Anxiety disorders, however, are different.

An anxiety disorder is a serious mental illness. For people with anxiety disorders, worry and fear are constant and overwhelming, and can be crippling.

At the New York-Presbyterian Hospital and Weill Cornell Medicine 33rd Women’s Health Symposium, Gail Saltz, MD, and John Walkup, MD, offered some practical information about Anxiety Disorder  that can help us better understand the disorder.

Much progress has been made in the last two decades in the treatment of people with mental illnesses, including anxiety disorders. Although the exact treatment approach depends on the type of disorder, one or a combination of the following therapies may be used for most anxiety disorders:

  • Medication: Drugs used to reduce the symptoms of anxiety disorders include anti-depressants and anxiety-reducing drugs.
  • Psychotherapy: Psychotherapy (a type of counseling) addresses the emotional response to mental illness. It is a process in which trained mental health professionals help people by talking through strategies for understanding and dealing with their disorder.
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy: This is a particular type of psychotherapy in which the person learns to recognize and change thought patterns and behaviors that lead to troublesome feelings.
  • Dietary and lifestyle changes.
  • Relaxation therapy.

Nurses play a very major important role in treating patients with AD. Appropriately educated and clinically supervised mental health nurses can provide effective early interventions to patients who are experiencing anxiety in hospital settings. The nurse’s relationship with patients is grounded in day-to-day therapeutic experiences rather than in any established theory or empirical research. Positive aspects of nursing strategies include assisting the patient to develop coping techniques and relapse prevention strategies. Nurses need to work closely with patients to develop de-stress strategies. Working with a person who is experiencing anxiety requires in-depth theoretical and personal knowledge that is acquired only by experience and Nurses can do the best.

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