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Anxiety disorder

Any kind of prolonged psychological or physical sickness can lead to anxiety disorders. The person spends a day packed with needless fears and anxiety with major reason to instigate it. Everything looms large, right from family relationships, finances to job environment.

Factors contributing to generalized anxiety disorder


  • Levels of the neurotransmitters are unequal. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that transmit signals across nerve ends.
  • Norepinephrine, GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) and serotonin are the neurotransmitters that govern anxiety.
  • Substantial changes in the levels of these neurotransmitters cause anxiety levels to differ.
  • Alcohol abuse and substance abuse are major culprits when it comes to anxiety disorders and need to be treated first before treating anxiety disorders.
  • Thyroid disorder such as hyperthyroidism can cause this disorder.

There are other factors contributing to the anxiety disorder such as environmental factors and biological factors.

  • Heredity is a major reason for anxiety disorders.
  • Environmental stress factors such as work, relationships etc.
  • Irregular sleep patterns, either lack of sleep of deficiency of sleep.
  • Financial concerns and health concerns

Obsessive compulsive disorder

The exact cause of obsessive compulsive behavior is yet to be established. On the basis of some studies and research carried so far, possible causes include any one or a combination of two.


Genetics (family history): Multiple genes passed on through generations are likely to affect the sufferer whose close relative is diagnosed with OCD as well. The genetic connection proves to be higher if the onset of OCD is before age 14. Identical twins have a 70% chance of sharing the disorder.

Illness: If the person is suffering from other anxiety disorder like depression, , substance abuse disorder, a personality disorder, attention deficit disorder, he or she is most likely to experience a high level of anxiety. Certain auto immune diseases such as Sydenham's chorea, rheumatic fever, pediatric streptococcal infection may also cause obsessive compulsive disorder.

Serotonin Hypothesis: People diagnosed with OCD are believed to have abnormally low levels of brain chemical, the serotonin which helps carry messages from one nerve cell to another. This imbalance may interfere with the normal biological processes including mood, sleep, appetite, impulse control, aggression and pain.

Structural brain differences: Abnormalities in several parts of the brains including the thalamus, caudate nucleus, orbital cortex and cingulated gyrus may also be a cause for OCD.


OCD traits

The disorder is clearly visible right from early childhood. Check for one or more of the following traits which are generally associated with time, dirt, relationship and money. Unless and until the individual has trouble leading a normal life due to any or all of these traits, it is not diagnosed as a disorder.


  • Keeping home perfectly organized.

  • Extreme attention to details, rules, lists, orderliness even if it results in waste of time and doesn't result in completion of proposed activity.

  • Exhibiting over perfectionism which interferes with task completion.

  • Is a workaholic, overly devoted to work and productivity.

  • Unwilling to delegate work as

  • Highly rigid and stubborn.

  • Leading a miserly spending style, self and others. Hoards money fearing future catastrophes.

Treating OCD

If left unattended, OCD can have devastating effects both in personal life and at the workplace. Normal life can be completely marred. Most importantly, individuals with OCD are close to acknowledging the need for help as compared to those affected with OCPD who do not conceive it as a problem, hence do not seek help until or unless someone forces the issue.

Antidepressant medications and behavior therapy are effectively used in treating OCD. Medication other than certain antidepressants is rarely prescribed. Instead individual psychotherapy or counseling helps treat OCPD. With family support and an empathetic attitude by those in contact, improvement is evident within few weeks of professional assistance.


Biofeedback Training

Biofeedback training is a process wherein the patient is trained to improve his/her health by using signals from his/her own body. It helps a person control physiological processes such as blood pressure, heart rate and muscle tension. These processes actually are involuntary but can be manipulated and controlled at will. Biofeedback therapy is used to treat conditions such as migraine headache, tension headache, urinary incontinence, high blood pressure, chronic pain, etc.


The concept behind biofeedback training is very interesting. It utilizes the power of the mind to become aware of what is happening within the body. This awareness helps a person to gain more control over bodily functions, involuntary ones too. This therapy works wonders on people experiencing stress. Stress can cause fluctuations in blood pressure and biofeedback therapy aids in relaxation.


Electrodes are attached to the patient's skin, which sends information to the monitor. Based on the monitor reading, the therapist understands the mental activities of the patient. The parameters that are monitored include blood pressure, sweating, breathing rate, and muscle activity. If a patient is experiencing stress at a particular moment the above mentioned parameters may alter. Understanding this alteration can help understand which part of the body needs to relax.


Depending on the severity of the issue, the number of sessions may vary. A session may typically last from 30 minutes to one hour. Biofeedback therapy does not have any side effects or pose any risk and is a non-invasive procedure. To undertake a session in biofeedback therapy, it is advisable to work with a health care professional trained in biofeedback.


Biofeedback therapy uses

Biofeedback therapy can be used to treat:

Chronic pain: Helps in identifying tight muscles and relaxing them, relieves lower back pain, abdominal pain, etc. This therapy benefits people across all age groups.

Anxiety: Anxiety relief is one huge area wherein biofeedback therapy can be very helpful. The therapy helps understand the body's responses when a person is stressed and anxious. By understanding this, one can control body response using biofeedback therapy.

Urinary incontinence: People may have trouble in controlling the urge to urinate. This therapy, particularly in women helps in tightening the pelvic floor muscles that control the urge/feeling to urinate. It is helpful in treating kids who bed wet.

Headache: Stress and muscle tension can cause headaches like migraine and other types of headache. This therapy can help relax the muscles and reduce frequency as well as severity of the headache.


Other conditions that can be cured using biofeedback therapy include ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), asthma, constipation, rheumatoid arthritis, COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), high blood pressure, etc. Different relaxation exercises used in biofeedback therapy:


  • Deep breathing

  • Guided imagery: Concentrating on a specific image and focusing on the image to make the person feel relaxed.

  • Progressive muscle relaxation: Alternately tightening and relaxing various muscle groups.

  • Mindfulness meditation: Focusing thoughts to let go of negative emotions.

Biofeedback therapy types

Neuro feedback: Used to measure brain wave feedback. Used to treat epilepsy and other seizure disorders.

Thermal biofeedback: Used to measure skin temperature. Used to treat headache and Raynaud's disease.

Electromyography: Used to measure muscle activity and tension. Used to treat conditions such as headaches, back pain, anxiety disorder, incontinence, muscle retraining after injury.

Electrodermal activity: Used to measure sweating and can be used in pain and anxiety.


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Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: December 12, 2017