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