How does anxiety impact the body, mind, and spirit of an individuals
Anxiety disorders are mental and emotional conditions characterized by high levels of anxiety, nervousness, worry, and fear. Many people experience anxiety attacks at some point in their lives. However, if not treated well, it becomes a medical condition that can lead to life-threatening problems (Koyuncu, İnce, & Ertekin et al., 2019). Researchers, therapists, and doctors have developed the most effective and cost-effective treatment options to help sufferers of anxiety disorders. Among the most effective assessment tools used by mental health professionals to assess and measure the severity of an individual’s anxiety are the 7-item Generalized Anxiety Disorder scale (GAD-7) and the Hamilton Anxiety Scale (HAM-A).
The effects of anxiety on an individual’s body, mind and spirit
If left untreated, anxiety affects a person’s physical, mental, and spiritual health. Some of the effects that anxiety can have on the body are increased heart rate, shortness of breath, fatigue, headaches, and sweating. High heart rate and low respiration result from the hormone adrenaline released by the body during anxiety. In addition, during anxiety attacks, body muscles become tight and tense, thus causing headaches and fatigue (Koyuncu, İnce, & Ertekin et al., 2019). When anxiety strikes, stress hormones are released that affect a person’s logical thinking. the brain . When stress levels continue to drop, it leads to depression, one of the most serious conditions in our brain. Anxiety not only threatens the body and mind of a person but also affects the mental well-being of a person because it creates fear in a person and thus limits an enjoyment of life. People who are anxious withdraw from normal situations because it makes them feel hopeless. Therefore, it is important for medical professionals to fully assess the cause in order to prescribe the correct medication.
Key features of GAD-7 and HAM-A.
The GAD-7 is an instrument developed to assess and screen for the severity of symptoms associated with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). It consists of seven items that help determine the type of disease of special attention in the patient. This item is widely used because it easily detects GAD symptoms in a short period of time and includes questions answered by the patient to determine the anxiety score (Sapra, Bhandari, & Sharma et al., 2020). Common core features of the GAD-7 instrument include the ability to detect nervousness, worry, preoccupation with various things, and anxiety management. Other characteristics include the patient’s relaxation, restlessness, level of anxiety, and the ability to detect fear that something scary is happening in life. Measurement-based treatment emphasizes the use of GAD-7 assessments to guide treatment decisions in monitoring improvement. or changes in mental health symptoms.
The HAM-A is another assessment tool used in clinical and research settings to measure anxiety and symptom severity. The most common feature of the HAM-A includes the ability to use fourteen parameters to determine the severity of anxiety. The Hamilton Scale is a psychological questionnaire used to measure anxiety, tension, fear, insomnia, and somatic complaints in patients. The fourteen-item scale includes several symptoms and measures of psychological and somatic symptoms associated with anxiety (Saragih & Rahmawati, 2020). However, while HAM-A remains one of the most widely used tools for assessing anxiety, it has received criticism for its inability to distinguish anxiolytic effects from antidepressant effects, somatic anxiety vs. somatic anxiety. However, despite criticism, HAM-A is still accepted due to its inter-rater reliability.
Similarities between GAD-7 and HAM-A.
A similarity between the two assessment tools is that both use questionnaires to measure the severity of anxiety. Common core features of GAD-7 and HAM-A include nervousness, worry, preoccupation with various things, the ability to manage anxiety, and the patient’s ability to relax, restlessness, and anger. level and sense of fear that something terrible can happen in life. In addition, both the GAD-7 and the HAM-A are suitable for use by nonpsychiatrists and psychologists in general hospitals. In this way, the patient’s level of anxiety can be easily detected, which helps to determine whether the patient should be referred to a mental and psychological specialist or treated with drugs.
The difference between GAD-7 and HAM-A.
The main difference between HAM-A and GAD-7 is the inability of HAM-A to distinguish between anxiolytic and antidepressant effects. Also, low levels of anxiety were associated with higher effects than insomnia. On the other hand, due to the many questions asked by the client, the GAD- scale can distinguish between anxiolytic and antidepressant effects (Sapra, Bhandari, & Sharma et al., 2020). Another difference is that the GAD-7 scale focuses on only one anxiety disorder, forgetting that different patients suffer from different anxiety disorders. In contrast, HAM-A can detect different problems because it is divided into two subscales that measure physical and mental concerns.
What might lead mental health professionals to choose HAM over GAD-7?
Clinicians must be highly trained and proficient in using the HAM-A scale, which is more time-consuming than GAD-7. Therefore, for patients with mild anxiety symptoms, doctors can decide to use GAD-7 because it is easier and faster to use for anxiety scores. In addition, based on the patient’s level of education, the doctor may decide to use other assessment tools. For example, because the GAD-7 is a self-rating scale, the results of the assessment may be influenced by the patient’s cognitive functioning, which may affect the accuracy of the results. In such cases, health care providers may choose to use the HAM-A because of its reliability and validity, as it involves the somatic assessment of different body parts, emotions, and behaviors.