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Chapter 15.3

PSYC 1000 Chapter Notes - Chapter 15.3 : Obsessive–Compulsive Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Bipolar Disorder

Course Code
PSYC 1000
Paula Barata

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Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety Disorders—A category of disorders involving fear or nervousness that is
excessive, irrational, and maladaptive.
· Most diagnosed disorder, effecting 1 in 8 Canadians.
Varieties of Anxiety Disorders
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)—Frequently elevated levels of anxiety,
generally from the normal challenges and stress of everyday life.
· They ted to fear ‘disaster’.
· May experience symptoms such as difficulties sleeping or breathing, to difficulties
concentrating because of intrusive thoughts.
· It is difficult to identify the specific reasons that make them anxious, and that
makes it very difficult to deal with the anxiety itself.
· People with GAD have unstable, irritable moods, cannot concentrate and have
difficulties sleeping.
Panic Disorder—An anxiety disorder marked by occasional episodes of sudden,
very intense fear.
· This is different from GAD because the anxiety occurs in short segments, but can
increase in severity.
· Panic attacks include brief moments of extreme anxiety that include a rush of
physical activity paired with frightening thoughts. It can escalate when the fear of
death causes increased physical arousal, and the increased physical symptoms
feed the frightening thoughts. Goes on roughly 10 min.
o Agoraphobia—(This is associated with panic disorder), resulting
from an intense fear of having a panic attack in public; as a result of
this fear, the individual may begin to avoid public settings and
increasingly isolate themselves.
o In extreme forms, it would lead the person to stay inside of their
home almost all the time.
Social Anxiety Disorder—A very strong fear of being judged by others or being
embarrassed or humiliated in public.
· Social anxiety generally leads people to limit their social activities in favour of not
exposing themselves to anxiety, thus making it difficult to succeed and live a
normal life.

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The Vicious Cycle of Anxiety Disorders
· The problem with anxiety is that by having it, it usually leads to circumstances that
provoke further anxiety.
· Anxiety disorders tend to reinforce themselves over time.
· Instead of trying to minimize contact with feared situations, which only serves to
reinforce the dear, the person must begin to practice confronting the fear. Only by
exposing themselves to fear will they know how to manage their responses.
Exposure—(one of the most important parts of therapy for anxiety). The person is
repeatedly and in stages exposed to the object of their fear so that they can work
past their emotional reactions.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)—Individuals with OCD are plagued by
unwanted, inappropriate, and persistent thoughts (obsessions) and tend to engage in
repetitive almost ritualistic behaviors (compulsions).
· Until 2013, OCD was considered an anxiety disorder however now it is not
· Generally, the obsessions
and compulsions
are linked together, with the
compulsive behaviour serving as a means of coping with the anxiety produced by
the obsessive thoughts.
· Obsessions
can last for a long time, even years.
· OCD develops over time, ranging from childhood into early adulthood.
· Compulsions
arise, stemming from anxiety related to the obsessive thoughts.
· Many psychologists believe that compulsive
behaviours that people with OCD
engage in are ways of asserting control over their anxiety. Compulsive
behaviours often arise from specific obsessions. Ex: worrying you will start a fire,
so developing a compulsive checking habit.
· There is multiple treatment options available, so the individual suffering just needs
to find one that best fits their needs.
Mood Disorders
· Bipolar disorder and depression are very common, effecting up to 10% of adults in
Canada and US.
· There is a biological predisposition to mood disorders.
Major Depression and Bipolar Disorder

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Major Depression—A disorder marked by prolonged periods of sadness, feelings of
worthlessness and hopelessness, social withdrawal, and cognitive and physical
· Cognitive abilities such as making decisions and concentrating are effected as
well, and memories become very unpleasant and unhappy.
· People effected can be lethargic and sleepy, but experience insomnia at the same
time. They can also experience changes in appetite and the onset of digestive
problems such as constipation or appetite loss.
· People deep in depression might find it difficult to do more than the bare
necessities of their lives; their social life can begin to suffer as well.
Bipolar Disorder (formerly referred to as maniac depression)—Characterized by
extreme highs and lows in mood, motivation, and energy.
· Both bipolar disorder and major depression share many symptoms.
· There is depression
on one side and mania
(extremely energized, positive mood)
on the other side.
o Mania: talking excessively fast, racing thoughts, impulsive and
spontaneous decisions, or high-risk behaviours. During a maniac
episode, individuals feel little concern about the potential
consequences of their actions.
· Some people with bipolar disorder experience only few episodes of mania in their
lives, but some people might have several in a year.
Cognitive and Neurological Aspects of Depression
· Depression effects cognition and emotion.
· Individuals can emphasize negative, self-defeating characteristics about
themselves. They develop a pessimistic explanatory style.
Pessimistic (or negative) Explanatory Style—A set of habitual ways of explaining
events to oneself which tend to be dysfunctional.
· Individuals tend to make personal attributions (internalizing),
for the event,
blaming themselves excessively. Ex: I’m so stupid! It’s my fault!
· Depressed individuals also tend to male stable attributions,
assuming that the
situation is going to persist. Ex: It’s always going to be this way, things will never
· After, they tend to make global attributions,
expanding the impact of the negative
event into other domains or into overall life. Ex: Thinking that it applies to
everything, not just the current situation. They think they ruined everything.
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