Anxiety sensitivity is a psychological construct that is important for health care providers in intensive care units (ICUs) to be aware of because of its potential impact on patients’ well-being. By addressing anxiety sensitivity through appropriate interventions and support, health care teams can help patients cope with their ICU experience more effectively, thus improving patient outcomes. Boehm et al describe anxiety sensitivity as “fear of symptoms associated with anxiety” with “intolerance or catastrophic appraisal of anxiety-related symptoms.” In a stressful environment such as an ICU, patients with anxiety sensitivity may misinterpret and catastrophize physical sensations or symptoms that may be associated with anxiety (eg, increased heart rate, shortness of breath, or dizziness), creating a spiral of escalating anxiety and physical symptoms that can affect their emotional well-being and complicate their overall recovery. By understanding the concept of anxiety sensitivity and implementing appropriate strategies, clinicians can alleviate patients’ distress and promote...
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AJCC Patient Care Page| November 01 2023
Meredith Padilla; Anxiety Sensitivity in the Intensive Care Unit. Am J Crit Care 1 November 2023; 32 (6): 458. doi: https://doi.org/10.4037/ajcc2023383
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