PSYB32H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 6: Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, Anxiety Disorder

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Published on 11 Aug 2012
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Chapter 6-Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety is a unpleasant fear or apprehension
There is comorbidity among anxiety disorders for two reasons:
oSymptoms of the various anxiety disorders are not disorder
specific
oThe factors that cause the anxiety disorders may be applicable to
more than one disorder
Anxiety disorders are the most common psychological disorders
More prevalence in women
Those with anxiety disorders are less likely to seek help than mood
disorders
Work stress is associated with anxiety disorders
PTSD and GAD have more in common with major depression than any
other anxiety disorder
Phobias
A phobia is a fear-mediated avoidance that is out of proportion of the
danger actually posed
Many specific fears or phobias do not create enough hardship to compel
someone to seek treatment—need to feel personal distress
Psychologists focus on different aspects of phobias depending on the
paradigm they adopt
Specific Phobias
Specific phobias are fears caused by the presence of a specific object or
situation
Fears can be classified into five factors:
oAgoraphobia
oFear of heights or water
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oThreatening fears
oFear of being observed
oSpeaking fears
These are then made into two main categories of phobias: Specific
phobias and social phobias
The specific fear focused on in a phobia vary cross culturally
oEx. China has pa-leng—fear of losing body heat
Social Phobias
Social phobias are fears linked to the presence of other people. Try to
avoid situations in which they can reveal their anxiety or where they can
be evaluated by others
Can be specific or generalized
People with generalized social phobia have an earlier age of onset, more
comorbidity with other disorders, and severe impairment
Onset of social phobia typically takes place in adolescence when social
awareness and interaction become important in a persons life
People with social phobia also have lower self esteem and distorted
body image
Etiology of Phobias
Psychoanalytical Theories
According to Freud, phobias are a defence against the anxiety produced
by repressed id impulses. The anxiety is displaced from the feared id
impulse and moved to an object or situation that has a symbolic
connection to it
Phobia is the egos way to avoid dealing with repressed conflicts (caused
by id impulses)
Most of the evidence is restricted to case reports
Behavioural Theories
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Behavioural theories focus on how phobias are acquired through
learning—their function
Avoidance Conditioning
Phobias develop from two related sets of learning:
oVia classical conditioning —a person learns to fear neutral stimulus
if it is paired with an unpleasant event
oVia operant conditioning —the avoidance response it maintained
by the reinforcing consequence of reducing fear
All fears and phobias are not acquired through classical conditioning
Some phobias are reported after a painful experience (neutral stimulus
paired with unpleasant event) and some are not (below)
Modelling
In addition to learning to fear something as a result of an unpleasant
experience with it, a person can also fear through imitating the
reactions of others
Vicarious learning is learning of fear responses by observing others
Can be accomplished through verbal instructions
oEx. A child may come to fear something after parents
repeatedly warn of dire consequences (anxious-rearing model)
Prepared Learning
The original avoidance conditioning model fails to address is that
people tend to fear only certain objects/events
This is because certain neutral stimuli called prepared stimuli are
more likely than others to become classically conditioned
Prepared learning is also true in modelling. Observing fear responses
only operate for certain prepared stimuli
A Diathesis is Needed
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Document Summary

Social phobias: social phobias are fears linked to the presence of other people. Psychoanalytical theories: according to freud, phobias are a defence against the anxiety produced by repressed id impulses. Behavioural theories: behavioural theories focus on how phobias are acquired through learning their function. Avoidance conditioning: phobias develop from two related sets of learning, via classical conditioning if it is paired with an unpleasant event. A person learns to fear neutral stimulus: via operant conditioning by the reinforcing consequence of reducing fear. The avoidance response it maintained: all fears and phobias are not acquired through classical conditioning, some phobias are reported after a painful experience (neutral stimulus paired with unpleasant event) and some are not (below) A child may come to fear something after parents repeatedly warn of dire consequences (anxious-rearing model) Observing fear responses only operate for certain prepared stimuli. This sometimes leads to intrusive thoughts associated with ocd.

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