Anxiety


A vague, uneasy feeling of discomfort or dread accompanied by an autonomic response, with the source often nonspecific or unknown to the individual; a feeling of apprehension caused by anticipation of danger. It is an altering signal that warns of impending danger and enables the individual to take measures to deal with threat.

Defining Characteristics:

Behavioral

  • Diminished productivity; 
  • scanning and vigilance; 
  • poor eye contact; 
  • restlessness; 
  • glancing about; 
  • extraneous movement (e.g., foot shuffling, hand/arm movements); 
  • expressed concerns resulting from change in life events; 
  • insomnia; 
  • fidgeting

Affective
  • Regretful; 
  • irritability; 
  • anguish; 
  • scared; 
  • jittery; 
  • overexcited; 
  • painful and persistent increased helplessness; 
  • rattled; 
  • uncertainty; 
  • increased wariness; 
  • focus on self; 
  • feelings of inadequacy; 
  • fearful; 
  • distressed; 
  • apprehension; 
  • anxious
Physiological
  • Voice quivering
Objective
  • Trembling/hand tremors; insomnia
Subjective
  • Shakiness; worried; regretful
Physiological-sympathetic
  • Increased pulse; 
  • increased blood pressure; 
  • increased tension; 
  • cardiovascular excitation; 
  • heart pounding; 
  • superficial vasoconstriction; 
  • respiratory difficulties; 
  • increased respiration; 
  • increased perspiration; 
  • facial flushing; 
  • facial tension; 
  • pupil dilation; 
  • anorexia; 
  • dry mouth; 
  • weakness; 
  • increased reflexes; 
  • twitching
Physiological-Parasympathetic
  • Decreased pulse; 
  • decreased blood pressure; 
  • abdominal pain; 
  • nausea; 
  • diarrhea; 
  • urinary urgency; 
  • urinary hesitancy; 
  • urinary frequency; 
  • tingling in extremities; 
  • fatigue; 
  • faintness; 
  • sleep disturbance
Cognitive
  • Blocking of thoughts; 
  • confusion; 
  • preoccupation; 
  • forgetfulness; 
  • rumination; 
  • impaired attention; 
  • decreased perceptual field;
  • fear of nonspecific consequences; 
  • tendency to blame others; 
  • difficulty concentrating; 
  • diminished ability to problem solve; 
  • diminished learning ability; 
  • awareness of physiological symptoms

Related Factors:
  • Unconscious conflict regarding essential values or life goals; 
  • threat to self-concept; 
  • threat of death; 
  • threat to or change in health status, 
  • environment, 
  • interaction patterns; 
  • situational or maturational crises; 
  • interpersonal transmission of contagion; unmet needs

NOC Outcomes (Nursing Outcomes Classification)

Suggested NOC Labels
  • Anxiety Control
  • Aggression Control
  • Coping
  • Impulse Control
Client Outcomes
  • Identifies and verbalizes symptoms of anxiety
  • Identifies, verbalizes, and demonstrates techniques to control anxiety
  • Verbalizes absence of or decrease in subjective distress
  • Has vital signs that reflect baseline or decreased sympathetic stimulation
  • Has posture, facial expressions, gestures, and activity levels that reflect decreased distress
  • Demonstrates improved concentration and accuracy of thoughts
  • Identifies and verbalizes anxiety precipitants, conflicts, and threats
  • Demonstrates return of basic problem-solving skills
  • Demonstrates increased external focus
  • Demonstrates some ability to reassure self
NIC Interventions (Nursing Interventions Classification)

Suggested NIC Labels
  • Anxiety Reduction 

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