Long-Term Care

A closer look at anxiety

LTC Nursing Assistant Trainer, February 10, 2011

Anxiety is a feeling of concern or worry, and includes increased alertness or awareness. It can be mild, moderate, or severe; when very severe it can become a state of panic. Mild to moderate anxiety is a normal part of living, and can even be helpful when we must focus on something urgent or important. As a normal reaction to a stressful situation, it helps us take action. When anxiety becomes a long-term condition, or becomes severe, the person becomes overly focused on specific details and can’t think of anything else. In this case, most of the individual’s behavior is directed toward relieving the anxiety.

From 3% to 8% of the population suffers from severe anxiety, with about 15% of people experiencing it at some point in their lives. It is a very common disorder in the elderly, and is more common in women than men. Some of the many causes of anxiety are:

  • Persistent stress
  • Extreme change
  • Illness, particularly cancer, heart disease, and chronic sickness
  • Chemical changes in the brain
  • Abnormal brain functioning
  • Medication side effects
  • Drug abuse or withdrawal

This is an excerpt from the HCPro book, The CNA Training Solution, Second Edition.

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