Was it when your car almost skidded off the road in

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Unformatted text preview: your breathing quickened, your muscles tensed, and your heart pounded with a sudden sense of dread. Was it when your car almost skidded off the road in the rain? When your professor announced a pop quiz? What about when the person you were in love with went out with someone else, or your boss suggested that your job performance ought to improve? Any time you face what seems to be a serious threat to your well-being, you may react with the state of immediate alarm known as fear (Garrett, 2009). Sometimes you cannot pinpoint a specific cause for your alarm, but still you feel tense and edgy, ComFun6e_Ch04_C!.indd 95 12/10/09 11:16:02 AM 96 ://CHAPTER 4 One anxiety disorder only (19%) Two or more independent anxiety disorders (26%) Two or more anxiety disorders, one caused by the other (55%) Figure 4-1 Does anxiety beget anxiety? People with one anxiety disorder usually experience another as well, either simultaneously or at another point in their lives. More than 80 percent actually suffer from multiple disorders. (Adapted from Ruscio et al., 2007; Rodriguez et al., 2004; Hunt & Andrews, 1995.) as if you expect something unpleasant to happen. The vague sense of being in danger is usually called anxiety, and it has the same features—the same increase in breathing, muscular tension, perspiration, and so forth—as fear. Although everyday experiences of fear and anxiety are not pleasant, they often are useful: They prepare us for action—for “fight or flight”—when danger threatens. They may lead us to drive more cautiously in a storm, keep up with our reading assignments, treat our dates more sensitively, and work harder at our jobs. Unfortunately, some people suffer such disabling fear and anxiety that they cannot lead normal lives (Koury & Rapaport, 2007). Their discomfort is too severe or too frequent, lasts too long, or is triggered too easily. These people are said to have an anxiety disorder or a related kind of disorder. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental disorders in the United States. In any given year around 18 percent of the adult population suffer from one or another of the six anxiety disorders identified by DSM-IV-TR, while close to 29 percent of all people develop one of the disorders at some point in their lives (Kessler et al., 2009, 2005). Only around one-fifth of these individuals seek treatment (Wang et al., 2005). People with generalized anxiety disorder experience general and persistent feelings of worry and anxiety. People with phobias experience a persistent and irrational fear of a specific object, activity, or situation. Individuals with panic disorder have recurrent attacks of terror. Those with obsessive-compulsive disorder feel overrun by recurrent thoughts that cause anxiety or by the need to perform repetitive actions to reduce anxiety. And those with acute stress disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder are tormented by fear and related symptoms well after a traumatic event (for example, military combat, rap...
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