Chapter 4 Outline
What is Anxiety?
Definition of Anxiety
A common emotion characterized by physical symptoms, future-oriented thought, and escape or
Occurs when people encounter a new situation or anticipation a life-changing event (e.g., starting
college, getting married).
The anxiety is usually time-limited and leaves when the event is over for an individual.
A general discharge of the sympathetic nervous system is activated by stress or fear that includes
increased heart rate, enhanced muscle activity, and increased respiration.
The activation of the sympathetic nervous system, which is triggered by fear or stress.
Sympathetic nervous system (SNS)
part of the autonomic nervous system that activates the body for
the fight-or-flight response. When activated the sympathetic nervous system increases heart rate and
respiration allowing the body to perform at peak efficiency.
Allows you to use all available resources to escape the anxiety-provoking situation.
Parasympathetic nervous system (PNS)
is part of the autonomic nervous system that counteracts the
effects of system activation by slowing down heart rate and respiration, returning the body to a resting
The Elements of Anxiety (see Figure 4.2)
Negative cognitions and subjective distress
Escape or avoidance of behavior
(e.g., a discrete period of intense fear or discomfort, subjective distress, and a
cascade of physical symptoms).
(e.g., apprehensive, negative expectations, or outcomes about the future or the past that are
considered to be unreasonable in light of the actual situation).
Normal anxiety versus abnormal anxiety
(e.g., things to consider)
Experiencing feelings of anxiety is a normal experience.
Developmental age (e.g., cognitive development not actual chronological age).
Sociodemographic factors (e.g., sex, race/ethnicity, and socioeconomic factors).
Both men and women equally seek treatment if the fear and anxiety is severe enough.
What are the Anxiety Disorders?
Definition of Anxiety Disorders
The group of disorders characterized by heightened physical arousal, cognitive distress, and behavioral
avoidance of feared objects, situations, and events.
Comorbidity exists for those diagnosed with anxiety disorders (e.g., 57% with individuals also having
another anxiety disorder or depression).
In America 31.2% of adults will suffer from anxiety at some point in their lives.
Anxiety disorders are the most common disorder among all ages with the average age of around 11