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Unformatted text preview: e, torture) has ended. Most individuals with one anxiety disorder suffer from a second one
as well (see Figure 4-1). Bob Donaldson, for example, experiences the excessive worry
found in generalized anxiety disorder and the repeated attacks of terror that mark panic
This chapter will look at generalized anxiety disorder, phobias, panic disorder, and
obsessive-compulsive disorder. The other anxiety disorders—acute and posttraumatic
stress disorders—will be examined in the next chapter, which considers the effects
that particularly intense or ongoing stress have on both our psychological and physical
functioning. jGeneralized Anxiety Disorder table: 4-1
DSM Checklist GENERALIZED ANXIETY DISORDER
1. Excessive or ongoing anxiety and
worry, for at least six months,
about numerous events or
2. Difficulty controlling the worry.
3. At least three of the following
symptoms: restlessness • easy
fatigue • irritability • muscle tension • sleep disturbance.
4. Significant distress or impairment.
Based on APA, 2000. ComFun6e_Ch04_C!.indd 96 People with generalized anxiety disorder experience excessive anxiety under most
circumstances and worry about practically anything. In fact, their problem is sometimes
described as free-floating anxiety. Like the young carpenter Bob Donaldson, they typically
feel restless, keyed up, or on edge; tire easily; have difficulty concentrating; suffer from
muscle tension; and have sleep problems (see Table 4-1). The symptoms last at least six
months. Nevertheless, most people with the disorder are able, although with some difficulty, to carry on social relationships and job activities.
Generalized anxiety disorder is common in Western society. Surveys suggest that
around 3 percent of the U.S. population have the symptoms of this disorder in any
given year, a rate that holds across Canada, Britain, and other Western countries (Ritter,
Blackmore, & Heimberg, 2010; Kessler et al., 2005). Altogether, close to 6 percent of all
people develop generalized anxiety disorder sometime during their lives. It may emerge
at any age, but usually it first appears in childhood or adolescence. Women diagnosed
with the disorder outnumber men 2 to 1. Around one-quarter of individuals with generalized anxiety disorder are currently in treatment (Burijon, 2007; Wang et al., 2005).
A variety of factors have been cited to explain the development of this disorder.
Here you will read about the views and treatments offered by the sociocultural, psychodynamic, humanistic, cognitive, and biological models. The behavioral perspective
will be examined when we turn to phobias later in the chapter because that model approaches generalized anxiety disorder and phobias in basically the same way. 12/10/09 11:16:03 AM Anxiety Disorders :// 97 According to sociocultural theorists, generalized anxiety disorder is most likely to
develop in people who are faced with ongoing societal conditions that are dangerous. Studies have found that people in highly threatening environments are indeed
more likely to develop the...
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