PS280 Midterm: Social Anxiety and Generalized Anxiety Disorders

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14 Aug 2019
Social Anxiety Disorder:
-marked and persistent fear of social or performance-related situations
-underlying fear of being evaluated negatively and worry what others may be thinking about them
-includes fears that they will expose their inner-felt anxiety to others
-individuals w social anxiety are generally well aware that their fears are excessive / unreasonable
-they often have low self-esteem and are at increased risk for mood problems (comorbidity rate 63%)
-for most w comorbid social AD, onset of social anxiety predates onset of comorbid disorder
-one year prevalence of social anxiety in Canada is approx 3% (similar in males and females)
-one of most prevalent psychiatric disorders, comparable to depression
-assessment usually involves strucutred or semi-strucutred interview + various self-report measures
-important to distinguish b/w social anxiety and agoraphobia
-genetic factors appear to account for 40% of the variance in risk for social anxiety (predisposition to
develop anxiety is inherited rather than disorder itself)
-behavioural inhibition is an early marker of risk
-interactions among structures involved in fear recognition / conditioning (amygdala), arousal, and
stress (HPA axis), + regulation and areas of the brain that monitor negtive affect play an important role
-dysregulation of serotonin, norepinephrine, etc associated w socially anxious behaviour
-many report bullying during childhood + greater parental criticism, overprotection, control and as a
result may develop lack of confidence and negative self-focus
-cognitive factors: negative beliefs + judgements about self, others + abnormal processing of social info
-dishonest self-disclosure: self-protective strategy, act inauthentic to tell others what they want to hear
-tend to avoid looking directly at others' faces but exhibit vigilance for signs of social threat
-increased brain activity in amygdala when viewing facial expressions (increased threat monitoring)
-tendency to engage in self-focused attention (place excessive attention inward on self); linked to
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