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Psychology 2310A/B
Rod Martin

Anxiety Disorders Fear, Anxiety, and Panic Fear and anxiety – adaptive emotions Autonomic arousal – fight-flight response Increased HR, BP, GSR, muscle tension Decreased gastric activity Experiential aspects Cognitive symptoms  If you’re really anxious and worried about something you find it hard to focus on other things; go over the same things in your mind; loss of control, feeling of helplessness; constantly looking for cues for danger Behavioral symptoms  flee Evolutionary basis of anxiety – genetic variability  anxiety and fear are adaptive Pathological when: Excessive, irrational, uncontrollable Interferes with functioning – interfering with ability to work, to form relationships Anxiety Disorders are the most common group of mental disorders – 25% lifetime prevalence High personal and societal costs. Major DSM-IV Anxiety Disorders Panic Disorder Phobias (including Specific Phobias, Social Phobia, and Agoraphobia) Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (and Acute Stress Disorder) Generalized Anxiety Disorder Specific Phobia Persistent, excessive, unreasonable fear cued by a specific object or situation Provokes anxiety response (panic) Recognized by the sufferer as excessive, unreasonable Phobic situation is avoided or endured with intense distress May have been a reason from a childhood experience or may have just developed Interferes significantly with functioning, or marked distress about having phobia Types of Specific Phobias Animal (e.g., snakes, spiders) Natural Environment (e.g., heights, storms, water) Blood-Injection-Injury; phobic of getting a needle or the sight of blood Situation (e.g., airplanes, elevators, enclosed places) Other (e.g., fear of vomiting, clowns) Specific Phobias (cont’d) Lifetime prevalence 7 – 15% 2:1 women:men Typically begin in childhood, early adolescence May or may not involve traumatic experience Phobias persisting into adulthood rarely remit Social Phobia Fear of social situations involving other people Persistent, irrational fear linked to social or performance situations Fear of negative evaluation (being humiliated or embarrassed) e.g., fear of public speaking, urinating in public washrooms, eating in front of others Person recognizes fear is excessive Behavioral inhibition, avoidance Significantly interferes with functioning. Social Phobia (cont’d) Lifetime prevalence 3 – 13% Men = women Typically begins in mid-teens Chronic course Severity may fluctuate with stress Comorbid conditions very common – specific phobias, depression, alcohol dependence, agoraphobia  many people with alcohol addictions sprout from anxiety  agoraphobia – so anxious about leaving the house that they never go out in public Onset of social phobia usually precedes other conditions. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Person experienced or witnessed a traumatic event involving actual or threatened death, serious injury, or other personal harm The event created intense fear, horror, or a sense of helplessness. Three clusters of symptoms in PTSD Re-experiencing of the trauma Distressing images, thoughts, perceptions Dreams, flashbacks Avoidance and numbing Avoiding activities, people, places Feelings of detachment, estrangement, depersonalization, emotional numbness  dissociation, they don’t feel in touch with reality, alienation from other people Loss of memories of trauma – amnesia Symptoms of increased arousal Hypervigilance, irritability, startle response  irritability often leads to conflicts with other people; can lead to lack of negotiation in a marriage Difficulty sleeping, concentrating Symptoms last more than 1 month. PTSD (Cont’d) Associated features: survivor guilt, relationship conflicts, employment difficulties, impulsivity, aggression, social isolation, somatic complaints Major depression, panic, OCD, substance abuse Prevalence: 3-10% in the general pop. Higher among soldiers, victims of rape, torture, genocide 15-17 % of soldiers returning from Afghanistan 50 % of all rape victims Women twice as likely to develop PTSD as men  is it because they are more likely to be victimized? Or are
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