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Chapter 5

Chapter 5

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Western University
Psychology 2030A/B
Doug Hazlewood

Psychology 2030B Chapter 5: Anxiety Disorders Anxiety, Fear, and Panic • anxiety: a negative mood state characterized by bodily symptoms of physical tension, and apprehension about the future. (we fear that we cannot predict or control events) • anxiety can be represented as a sense of unease, a set of behaviours that show this sense of unease, or a physiological response originating in the brain and reflected in elevated heart rate or increased muscle tension. • anxiety has been studied with animals as it is difficult to study it in humans (easier just to observe animalʼs behaviour) - problem with this is that anxiety in animals doesnʼt explain the whole experience of anxiety with humans. • anxiety is very closely related to depression • anxiety is normal for every individual, but in moderate amounts. (anxiety sometimes pushes us to perform better) • what makes the situation worse is when we know we have nothing to be anxious about, yet we still remain anxious. • anxiety is a future-oriented mood state. • fear: emotion of an immediate alarm reaction to present danger or life-threatening emergencies • just like anxiety, fear is good for us in moderate amounts. • fear protects us from overreacting physiologically through the autonomic nervous system (increased heart rate and blood pressure) - fight or flight response. • much evidence shows that fear and anxiety differ psychologically and physiologically. • fear is concerned with the danger of events happening presently, while anxiety is a future-oriented mood state (concerned with the future events) • panic: sudden overwhelming fright or terror • panic attack: abrupt experience of intense fear or acute discomfort, accompanied by physical symptoms that include heart palpitations, chest pain, shortness of breath, and dizziness. • 3 types of panic attacks described by the DSM-IV: •situationally bound (cued): being exposed to certain situations (i.e. exposed to heights) can trigger a sense of panic. •unexpected (uncued): unexpected trigger of panic •situationally predisposed: can either be described as cued or noncued (in between) • one can be more likely exposed to a sense of panic, which is also avoidable, in situations they have had a panic attack to. • unexpected and situationally predisposed attacks are more important in panic disorders • situationally bound attacks are more important in social phobias and specific phobias • Causes of Anxiety, Fear, and Panic: (made up of multiple factors) • Biological Contributions •may not be the most influential factor, but genes have a weak contribution to being vulnerable to anxiety. •tendency to panic can also run in families • increased anxiety is due to depleted levels of GABA • CRF (corticotropin releasing factor) works with the HPA axis - these are all part of the limbic system that regulates our moods and emotions. • Jeffrey Gray - identified a brain circuit in the limbic system of animals that is involved with anxiety • circuit leads from septal and hippocampal area in the limbic system to the frontal cortex • the system is called the behavioural inhibition system (BIS) - activated by major changes in body functioning as detected by the brain • Jeffrey Gray and Graeff- identified a brain circuit that is involved with panic - called the fight-flight system (FFS) • originates in the brain stem and travels through several midbrain structures including the amygdala and the ventromedial nucleus of the hypothalamus, and central grey matter. • this system is activated by changes in serotonin levels in oneʼs body • environmental factors may change or alter these biological factors, changing
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