Anxiety Defense Mechanisms Comprehensive Nursing Essay Example

Anxiety Defense Mechanisms Comprehensive Nursing Essay Example

Defense mechanisms are unconscious mental techniques people adopt to defend themselves from the anxiety caused by unpleasant thoughts or feelings (Fortinash & Worret, 2012). Defense mechanisms include; repression, rationalization, reaction formation, projection, displacement, denial, and sublimation. Repression is a defense mechanism where an individual excludes painful thoughts and memories from the conscious mind (Fortinash & Worret, 2012). For example, one may choose not to remember some childhood memories following abuse when young. On the other hand, reaction formation is acting in a manner that opposes undesirable ideas or feelings, which may lead to anxiety as they arise (Fortinash & Worret, 2012). For instance, one may choose not to feel sad after getting a divorce from their spouse as they consider the feeling unacceptable.
Displacement is a defense mechanism that involves shifting anger from a threatening object to a less threatening one (Fortinash & Worret, 2012). For example, an employee may fail to question the negative actions of her boss and, as a result, later shout at her child. Additionally, projection is a self-defence mechanism in which clients choose not to accept bad traits in themselves but instead observe them in others (Fortinash & Worret, 2012). For instance, a person aware that they are acting aggressively during a disagreement may accuse the other party of being aggressive. Lastly, denial occurs when someone tries to suppress their negative emotions by denying the reality of a stressful circumstance (Fortinash & Worret, 2012). For instance, it may be more convenient to disregard the harmful consequences of heavy drinking than to moderate one’s consumption.

Anxiety Defense Mechanisms Comprehensive Nursing Essay Example

Etiology of anxiety disorders

Anxiety disorder is described as a mental health condition characterized by a feeling of a constant worry. The biological model of anxiety disorder states that biological factors such as genetics play a significant role in the manifestation of the condition. For instance, a person can inherit anxiety disorder when they have a family history of mental health issues. According to the psychodynamic theory, anxiety results from a conflict between the id and the ego. Repression can happen when aggressive and impulsive urges are deemed unacceptable. These suppressed urges may eventually surface and trigger automatic anxiety (Fortinash & Worret, 2012). Lastly, the behavioral model of anxiety disorder links this disorder with the outcome of learned behaviors; an individual’s past experiences and how they responded to them trigger anxiety.

Anxiety Defense Mechanisms Comprehensive Nursing Essay Example
Panic attacks, panic disorder, agoraphobia, specific phobias, and social phobias
A panic attack is a rapid, severe episode of fear that creates intense physical reactions without a real risk or apparent reason. People with panic disorder often experience uncontrollable panic attacks resulting in nausea, difficulty breathing, and profuse perspiration. Agoraphobia is the fear of being in a situation where one may find it challenging to escape, and help may be unavailable if things go wrong (Fortinash & Worret, 2012). Specific phobia is an intense and irrational fear of something that poses little or no danger. Key examples of specific phobias include animal, situational, body-based, and sexual phobias (Fortinash & Worret, 2012). Social phobia is a long-term and overwhelming fear of social situations common among teenagers and can be very distressing.

Posttraumatic stress disorder, acute stress disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) develops after experiencing or witnessing a terrifying event, like an accident or an attack (Fortinash & Worret, 2012). Ideally, the event keeps repeating in the person’s mind, making it hard for them to sleep or relax. Acute stress disorder is a psychological health problem that occurs within the first month of a traumatic event with symptoms such as sickness, chest pain, abdominal pain, and breathing difficulties. Moreover, generalized anxiety disorder is a psychological health problem characterized by excessive worry about daily issues and situations that lasts at least six months (Fortinash & Worret, 2012). Lastly, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is a mental health condition in which a person has unwanted thoughts, emotions, or sensations that resurface repeatedly (Fortinash & Worret, 2012). They feel they must keep repeating specific actions to eliminate the ideas.
The family and patients’ teaching guidelines for patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder
Families with patients with OCD should be provided with information on how to support their patients (Fortinash & Worret, 2012). This information includes; encouraging the family that OCD is a disease that can be managed and treated (Fortinash & Worret, 2012). Also, the family should be provided with knowledge regarding the treatment and medication for OCD patients. Lastly, they should be encouraged to seek medical treatment from a health provider focusing on OCD treatment to improve health outcomes.

Anxiety Defense Mechanisms Comprehensive Nursing Essay Example


Fortinash, K. & Worret, H. P. (2012). Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing (5th ed.). Elsevier, St. Louis, MO. ISBN: 9780323075725

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