So, let’s start going
through each now.
Anxiety, so what is anxiety?
So this is an emotional state,
so it’s more emotionally
driven of unpleasant
physical and mental arousal.
And so what happens with
individuals with anxiety
is that you have these intense, frequent,
irrational and uncontrollable episodes,
and so their thoughts and behaviors
get a little bit out of control.
And when you speak to individuals
who have anxiety, they say,
“My mind is racing a mile a minute and I
really can’t control where I’m going,”
and the thoughts don’t necessarily make
sense, they become slightly irrational.
So for example,
somebody who is suffering from anxiety might
say, “I have an appointment at 10 o’clock
but it’s 9:10 right now and I haven’t put
on my pants yet but my pants are still
on the dryer, and that reminds me I need
to get a new lint remover for the dryer
and the stores are going to
be closing in 20 minutes,
and the car needs gas, and how am
I going to make it to the store?”
So you can see it’s snowballing out of control
and their thoughts are going frantic.
It’s not that they’re not connected,
but it’s slightly irrational,
as opposed to somebody who is maybe
not suffering from anxiety might say,
“I have an appointment
in 20 minutes.
I should probably get a move on and
get in the car and get going,”
end of story, full stop.
So you can see how one is going quite frantic
and one is a little bit more controlled,
and that’s the biggest
description that they say
is I have a lack of
control of my thoughts.
Now, there are different
types of anxiety disorders.
So my kind of description was a blanket
statement, but you can have things like
panic disorders, where you have episodes
of full-blown panic and at this point,
you know, this is when they’re
curled up on the floor,
completely freaked out saying,
“I can’t manage this situation.”
And those are usually short-lived,
but they can be quite cyclical,
so they happen quite often and
happen in a semi-regular pattern,
or they can just be, you know, one-offs
based on the situation in front of them.
GAD is quite common and this is
I think one of the reasons why
it’s so common is because
it’s the easiest, it’s an umbrella descriptor
for all a bunch of anxiety disorder
And so sometimes a
lot of physicians,
not that they don’t want to probe deeper,
but because it’s just easier to say,
“Well, it’s clearly
anxiety so I’m going to
classify that as generalized
And after further treatment
or seeing a specialist
and they start peeling the layers of
that onion they realize actually, well,
it’s not just GAD, it’s actually
a specific type of phobia.
And with specific phobias, there’s unreasonable
fear of a certain object or situation.
So again, there’s a
huge exhaustive list of
all these different types of phobias
you can have and I’m sure in your
everyday life you’ve heard of different
phobias like I have a phobia for feet
or I have a phobia for
spiders and so on.
You can have a list, an
almost never ending list of
certain things that will
trigger some anxiety for you,
for most individuals
they would not.
So I think we all don’t love spiders,
but if there’s a spider in the room,
I’m not going to have a complete
panic attack or get really anxious.
I’m just going to go get
some toilet paper and
maybe squish it and
get rid of it, right?
Flush it down the
toilet, end of story.
So, an example of a
Social phobias are this
fear where you think people
around you are watching
you and judging you.
And PTSD is one that we’ve
discussed in other lectures and it
will come up again and that’s
post-traumatic stress disorder,
and this is anxiety that is linked
specifically to a traumatic
event and it usually happens
after the traumatic event.
So examples would be a soldier coming home
from a tour of duty in, say, Afghanistan.
A pretty traumatic experience, you see a
lot of crazy stuff, and then you come home
being removed from that situation and you
still have these episodes of anxiety,
waking up in cold sweats, inability to, you
know, properly reintegrate into society,
another quite fairly common
example of an anxiety disorder.
Acute stress disorder is
anxiety after trauma or a
traumatic event, but this
is in a shorter period.
So the name, the descriptor “acute”
refers to that is that shorter period.
So this might be actually something that’s a little
bit more tangible for the general population
is you might get into, say, a car accident
or you might see something fairly horrific
and for the next little while you can stop
thinking about it, it really affects you,
and then slowly you kind of
get over that, as opposed
to PTSD, which is a little
bit longer lasting.
We have OCD, which is obsessive
and this is when you have obsessions or
compulsions, or both, about specific things.
So, again, this is a term you
may have heard before, OCD,
and this is when you really hone
in on a specific thing that
if it’s not the way you like,
it really, really bothers you
to the point where
you can no longer
complete the task that you’re
initially trying to do.
So let me give you an example.
Taking notes for the MCAT and you
have a certain way of doing that.
You know, a lot of us have our preference,
yeah, I like to have a certain line,
I like to have my favorite
notepad and I do my thing.
Now, if you don’t have one of those things,
it kind of annoys you for a minute.
You’re like, “Where’s my lucky pen?
You’re like, “Where’s my lucky pen?
I guess I’ll just use this one,”
and you continue with your work.
Now, somebody with OCD might say,
“Has anybody seen my magic pen?”
And, “I can’t do my work
without my magic pen.”
And it turns into an
upheaval of the whole
bedroom and destroying
the desk and looking for
this and they actually
won’t be able to do their
studying because they
don’t have the pen.
They’ve obsessed about that pen and
without that they can’t complete it.
It can be things like writing in the
borders of the notepad or having the desk
at the southward
side of your house
and your notepad needs to be exactly 45
degrees to the periphery of your desk.
Like these are very specifics and
that they sound like I’m making light
of the situation, but this is exactly
what individuals who have OCD do.
They might not always vocalize it, but
in their mind these are the things that
they need to do and have in place,
otherwise, they cannot complete the task.