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Chapter 6

PSYB32H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 6: Putamen, Encephalitis, Alprazolam

Course Code
Konstantine Zakzanis

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Chapter 6: Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety is an unpleasant feeling of fear and apprehension
It can occur in many psychopathologies
An anxiety disorder is diagnosed when feelings of anxiety are clearly
DSM proposes 6 categories
Fear & avoidance of objects or situations that do not
present any real danger
oPanic disorder
Recurrent panic attacks involving a sudden onset of
physiological symptoms (dizziness, rapid heart rate etc)
accompanied by terror and feeling of impending doom;
sometimes accompanied with agoraphobia, a fear of being
in public places
oGeneralized anxiety disorder
Persistent, uncontrollable worry, often about minor things
oObsessive-compulsive disorder
Experience of uncontrollable thoughts, impulses, or images
(obsessions) and repetitive behaviours or mental acts
oPosttraumatic stress disorder
Aftermath of traumatic experience in which the person
experiences increased arousal, avoidance of stimuli
associated with the event, and anxiety in recalling the
oAcute stress disorder
Symptoms are the same as those of posttraumatic stress
disorder, but last for 4 weeks or less
Often someone with one anxiety disorder meets the diagnostic criteria
for another disorder as well (co-morbidity) because...
oSymptoms of the various anxiety disorders are not entirely
disorder specific
oThe etiological factors that give rise to various anxiety disorders
may be applicable to more than one disorder
16% and 9% of men suffer from anxiety disorders (mostly women 15-
24 years)
Phobia: a disrupting, fear mediated avoidance that is out of proportion
to the danger actually posed and is recognized by the sufferer as
C h a p t e r 6 : A n x i e t y D i s o r d e r s
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Examples: fear of heights, closed spaces, snakes or spiders
The person suffers intense distress and social or occupational
impairment because of the anxiety
For other phobia disorders, the suffix phobia is preceded by a Greek
word for the feared object or situation
oClaustrophobia: fear of closed spaces
oAgoraphobia: fear of public places
oAcrophobia: fear of heights
oErgasiophobia: fear of writing
oPnigophobia: fear of choking
oTaphenphobia: fear of being buried alive
oAnglophobia: fear of England
Psychoanalysts believe that the content of the phobias has important
symbolic value
Behaviourist ignore the content of the phobia and focus on its function
There are 2 types of phobias: Specific & Social Phobias
Specific Phobias
Social Phobia: unwarranted fears caused by the presence or
anticipation of a specific object or situation
DSM-IV subdivides these phobias according to the source of the fear
oInjuries & Injections
oNatural Environment
Recent empirical research involving a national representative sample
suggests that fear can be grouped into 1 of 5 factors
oFears of heights of water
oThreat fear (blood/needle, storms/thunder)
oFear or being observed
oSpeaking fears
oBut then these were classified under the higher-order categories
– specific & social fears
Specific fear focused on in a phobia can vary cross culturally
oPa-leng: fear of the cold
They worry that loss of body heat may be life threatening
oTaijinkyofu-sho: fear of other people
Fear of embarrassing others
Social Phobias
Social Phobia: persistent, irrational fears linked generally to the
presence of other people
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They try to avoid particular situations where they might be evaluated,
fearing they will reveal signs of anxiousness or behave in an
embarrassing way
People with generalized type have an earlier age of onset, more co-
morbidity with other disorders (depression, alcohol abuse, and more
severe impairments)
Social phobias are fairly common
11% in men and 15% in women
Often occur in conjunction with generalized anxiety disorder, specific
phobias, panic disorder, avoidant personality disorder, and mood
Onset is usually during adolescent when social awareness and
interaction with others is important
There was a link between social phobia and dropping out of school
Etiology of Phobias
Psychoanalytic Theories
oPhobias are against the anxiety produced by repressed id
oAnxiety is deplaced from the feared id impulse and moved to an
object or situation that has some symbolic connection to it
oRepression stems from a particular interpersonal problem of
childhood rather than from an id impulse
Behavioural Theories
Learning is the way in which phobias are acquired
Types of learning (3)
Avoidance Conditioning
oPhobias reactions are learned avoidance responses
o(Watson & Rayner) Phobias develop from 2 related sets of
Via classical conditioning (a person learns to fear a neutral
stimulus when it’s paired with a painful or frightening
event). The person learns to reduce the conditioned fear by
avoiding/escaping it
Via operant conditioning (response is maintained by its
reinforcing consequence of reducing the fear)
oThe evidence is very little in the laboratory (because you can’t
apply aversive stimuli to people) and mixed outside (some
people do produce a phobia through bad experiences)
oA person can learn a fear through imitating the reaction of others
oViscarious learning: learning of fear by observing others
C h a p t e r 6 : A n x i e t y D i s o r d e r s
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