Psychology in Action

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II. ANXIETY DISORDER A. Five Major Anxiety Disorders - People with anxiety disorders have persistent feelings of Instructor’s Resource Guide                              Chapter 14                                         Page   174
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threat that are unreasonable and often paralyzing. In generalized anxiety disorders (GAD), there is a persistent free-floating anxiety. In panic disorder, fear or discomfort arises abruptly and peaks in 10 minutes or less. Phobias are exaggerated fears of specific objects or situations, such as agoraphobia, a fear of being in open spaces. In obsessive-compulsive disorder, persistent anxiety-arousing thoughts (obsessions) are relieved by ritualistic actions (compulsions) such as hand-washing. In posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a person who has experienced an overwhelming trauma, such as rape, has recurrent maladaptive emotional reactions, such as exaggerated startle responses, sleep disturbances, and flashbacks. B. Explaining Anxiety Disorders - Research on the causes of anxiety disorders have focused on cognitive processes, learning, biology, and sociocultural influences. The cognitive approach emphasizes thinking styles, such as, hypervigilance, hypersensitivity, and self-preoccupation that magnifies ordinary threats and failures, resulting in anxiety disorders. Learning theorists suggest anxiety disorders result from classical and operant conditioning, as well as modeling and imitation. The biological perspective suggests that genetic pre-dispositions, disrupted biochemistry, or unusual brain activity influence the development of anxiety disorders. III. MOOD DISORDERS A. Understanding Mood Disorders - Mood disorders are characterized by extreme disturbances of emotional states. The hallmark of major depressive disorder is a pervasive feeling of deep sadness which interferes with basic ability to function, feel pleasure, or maintain interest in life. Bipolar disorder is characterized by episodes similar to major depressive disorder alternating with episodes of mania in which speech and thinking are rapid, and the person may experience delusions of grandeur and engage in impulsive behaviors. Gender and Cultural Diversity: How They Affect Depression – Research shows certain symptoms of depression are cross-cultural. Women are more likely than men to suffer depressive symptoms in many countries. Some researchers explain this in terms of hormonal differences, while others propose that cultural factors (such as poverty and discrimination) and socialization toward certain behaviors (such as passivity and dependence may predispose women toward depression. B. Explaining Mood Disorders - Biological theories of mood disorders indicate areas of the left frontal cortex lobe may be involved. Other research emphasizes disruptions in neurotransmitters (especially serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine). Antidepressants are often effective in relieving major depression. Bipolar disorders are generally treated with lithium carbonate. Recent research has also implicated certain brain areas that may trigger
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