Anxiety Disorder Diagnosis and Treatment Options


Anxiety disorder is a major medical issue and a common mental health condition among patients with mental illnesses. This paper contains basic information regarding anxiety, such as its definition and symptoms. The work also concerns the factors that influence anxiety development. In addition, it considers the treatment options applied in the current medical practice. The research is based on the latest studies on anxiety disorder, which are also presented in this work.

Anxiety disorder is a frequent mental health condition for people with mental illnesses. As known, mentally ill patients often suffer from several mental diseases at the same time. In this case, anxiety disorder is one of the most common mental health conditions. It is not bound to age or gender, meaning that both men and women, younger and older patients, may have this disorder. Moreover, treating this mental illness is a complicated and continuous process that can take many years and is not always successful. That is why anxiety disorder and other similar diseases require thorough exploration to facilitate the treatment process and make patients’ lives less challenging.

What is anxiety disorder?

Anxiety is a complex disorder that can manifest in various specific forms. Moreover, all those forms can differ by symptoms and influencing factors. However, there is a most frequent form of anxiety called “generalized anxiety disorder,” or GAD for short. Besides, specific symptoms are inherent to any form of anxiety; for instance, lack of physical energy, absence of emotions, unwillingness to communicate with other people, lowered concentration, and inability to feel rest rested or fall asleep.

How the anxiety disorder is diagnosed?

If a patient has a risk of anxiety disorder, the doctor takes particular actions to diagnose it. Aside from standard physical examination and juxtaposing symptoms and medications taken, a blood test might be required. It is necessary sometimes to see if the patient has specific physical conditions that may influence the development of anxiety. For instance, hypothyroidism, which is a condition of abnormally low thyroid gland activity, can often retard mental growth. It may directly lead to anxiety or other mental illnesses.

As mentioned earlier, mentally ill people often have more than one mental health condition, and anxiety is one of the most common diseases. According to statistics, 22% of mentally ill people are anxious. Moreover, anxiety frequently goes along with depressive disorders – 62% of anxious people either have depression or have suffered it at least once in their lives. In addition, women are almost twice more susceptible to anxiety and similar disorders than men.

As for the age connection, the studies of the last decade show that anxiety recording rates have had a significant increase for younger people and a slight increase for people of middle age and have remained stable for older people.

Genetic, psychosocial, and familial impact on the development of anxiety disorder

The risks of anxiety disorder are indicated by various external factors, such as genetics, family, and psychosocial circumstances. Scientists do much research nowadays to trace the impact of said factors on anxiety and similar disorders. Although there is much evidence of the connection between mental illnesses and said factors, many specific points are still unclear and require further exploration. However, anxiety disorder is formed under the influence of external circumstances in most cases.

The familial loading score defines the genetic impact on future generations. Recent studies show that a higher level of this indicator leads to higher risks of transferring mental health conditions to the next generations. For example, suppose a parent (or both parents) has an anxiety disorder, and their familial loading score is high. In that case, there is an excellent chance that their child might obtain their mental health condition genetically. Moreover, there is a danger that the child may go through even worse troubles, experience heavier symptoms, and the disease might manifest at a younger age, in comparison to the parent (or parents).

In addition, the child of mentally ill parents with a high familial loading score might be psychically vulnerable. For instance, there is a higher chance of obtaining neurotic diseases, and childhood traumas may have a heavier impact on the child’s personality and mental conditions.

Aside from genetic transfering, an anxiety disorder may form because of negative emotions, especially if it is difficult for a person to process them. A recent study investigated the connection between emotion processing and the development of depression and anxiety. For instance, frequent hearing of threatening or insulting words may affect the mental condition and lead to a psychic disorder, including anxiety and depression. Although the study aimed at the patients of older age, the authors assume that the same is applicable to younger people with mental diseases.

Treatment options

Despite all the difficulties concerning the anxiety disorder, it is still an adverse health condition that demands appropriate treatment. At present, there are several therapies used in medical practice that appear to be reasonably practical. However, even the most effective treatment requires a lot of time and effort from both the doctor and the patient to achieve positive results.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)

Cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT for short, suggests that a patient’s behavior, thoughts, and feelings affect each other. Therefore, psychic disorders follow the disturbance of said connection. Cognitive-behavioral therapy aims to change the patient’s thoughts or feelings if there is chaos in their correlation, which influences the patient’s mental condition destructively.

Metacognitive therapy (MCT)

Meta-cognitive therapy, or MCT for short, is a more modern treatment option in the current medical practice. Metacognitive therapy aims at understanding a patient’s thoughts and beliefs. It is required to see a psychological pattern that leads to their disorder, including anxiety. Once these patterns are clear, the next goal of metacognitive therapy is to explain them to the patient and teach them to react alternatively. In many cases, patients themselves need to be able to fight their disease on a mental level. According to recent studies, the recovery rates after metacognitive therapy are significantly higher in comparison to cognitive-behavioral therapy.

Remote cognitive therapy

Remote cognitive therapy has become popular because of the current pandemic situation. Self-isolation does not always allow to see a doctor in person, and there is an opportunity to consult them remotely, for example, through a video conference. In addition, anxious people, especially those with social anxiety, often fear or do not want to engage in social interaction, even see a doctor. Remote cognitive therapy helps them to avoid personal meetings but still receive their treatment and medical recommendations.

Research and methodology

Various studies provide results of performing different experiments on the matter of anxiety disorder and other mental illnesses.

As mentioned earlier, anxiety disorder and other mental health conditions are crucial issues of current medical science. Treating mental conditions is often much more complex than treating physical conditions; furthermore, it is less often successful. That is why scientists and medical experts constantly explore this problem deeper and seek new solutions and treatment options.

Scientific research

The theoretical side of the research addresses matters corresponding to the investigated issue. Scientists share their findings, monitor modern trends in primary care, and seek the relationships between anxiety disorder and other diseases, both mental and physical. Their primary concern is to find the most effective therapeutical approach to anxiety and similar illnesses so the patients could recover faster and experience less trouble.

Experiments performed

The information provided in the following slides presents results from various experiments performed by scientists and medical experts. It is crucial to note that these experiments involved a finite number of participants, meaning that a limited number of mentally ill people took part in those experiments. Therefore, the results of those experiments are statistically dependent and cannot provide absolute accuracy.

The first considered experiment concerned the annual incidence rate of anxiety diagnoses. According to the results, there was an overall increase in anxiety recording rates over the past twenty years.

The second considered experiment was designed to see whether familial loading score and family history can influence anxiety and similar disorders. Although the first indicator is associated with the risks, as it was mentioned before, the scientists did not find any evidence of the connection between family history and the dangers of obtaining anxiety or depression.

The third considered experiment concerned the influence of high intellectual potential, or HIP for short, on the development of anxiety disorder. High intellectual potential is defined by an IQ indicator higher than 130. According to the study results, high intellect may directly affect the chances of obtaining anxiety.

The fourth considered experiment was designed to compare the treatment options, namely cognitive-behavioral therapy and metacognitive therapy, for their effectiveness. The results show that metacognitive treatment is way more effective, but it requires further development and exploration since it is a more recent medical approach.


In brief, an anxiety disorder may be defined as a crucial medical issue affected by many external and internal factors. Although there is much research on the topic, there are still many unexplained points and questions that require more definite answers. The scientific development of this problem is evident; still, the incidence rates rise as well, meaning that the significance of anxiety disorder grows along with the necessity to seek new methods of effective treatment and ways to prevent the appearance of the disorder.


Gray, V., Douglas, K., & Porter, R. (2021). Emotion processing in depression and anxiety disorders in older adults: Systematic review. BJPsych Open, 7(1), E7. Web.

Kermarrec, S., Attinger, L., Guignard, J., & Tordjman, S. (2020). Anxiety disorders in children with high intellectual potential. BJPsych Open, 6(4), E70. Web.

Nordahl, H., Borkovec, T., Hagen, R., Kennair, L., Hjemdal, O., Solem, S., & Wells, A. (2018). Metacognitive therapy versus cognitive–behavioral therapy in adults with generalized anxiety disorder. BJPsych Open, 4(5), 393-400. Web.

Slee, A., Nazareth, I., Freemantle, N., & Horsfall, L. (2021). Trends in generalized anxiety disorders and symptoms in primary care: UK population-based cohort study. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 218(3), 158-164. Web.

Van Sprang, E., Maciejewski, D., Milaneschi, Y., Elzinga, B., Beekman, A., Hartman, C., & Penninx, B. (2020). Familial risk for depressive and anxiety disorders: Associations with genetic, clinical, and psychosocial vulnerabilities. Psychological Medicine, 1-11. Web.

Warnock-Parkes, E., Wild, J., Thew, G., Kerr, A., Grey, N., Stott, R., & Clark, D. (2020). Treating social anxiety disorder remotely with cognitive therapy. The Cognitive Behaviour Therapist, 13, E30. Web.

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