LECTURE 2:
PSYCHOLOGICAL
DISORDERS
Lesson 1Anxiety
Disorders
ANXIET Y DISORDERS
 Are psychological disorders where the primary symptom is
anxiety, or a feeling of impending doom or disaster from a
specific or unknown source.
 Anxiety disorders are characterized by mood symptoms of
tension or agitation; bodily symptoms of sweating or
increased heart rate and blood pressure as well as cognitive
symptoms such as worry or rumination (repetitively focusing
on the symptoms or causes of distress).
 Anxiety disorders include panic disorder, generalized anxiety
disorder, phobias, obsessive -compulsive disorder, and
posttraumatic stress disorder.
Panic Disorder
DIAGNOSED
AS…
T h e ex p e r i e n c e o f
r e p e a te d a t t a c k s
o f i n te n s e a n x i et y
accompanied by:
 s ev e r e c h e s t
pain
 Tightness of
m u s c le s
 Choking
 Sweating
 O r o t h e r a c u te
s y m p to ms
S y m p to m s c a n
l a s t a ny w h e r e
f r o m a f ew
m i n utes to a
c o u p le o f h o u r s
Generalized Anxiety
Disorder
SIMILAR TO
PANIC
DISORDER
HOWEVER,
 S y m p to m s m u s t
o c c ur f o r a t
least 6 months
a n d i n c l ud e
c h r o ni c a n x i et y
n o t a s s o c i a te d
w i t h a ny
s p e c i fi c
s i t ua t i o n o r
o b j ec t
 T h e i n d i v i d ua l
frequently
ex p e r i e nc e s :
 Sleep
problems
 Dif ficulty
concentratin
g
 Irritability
 Tenseness
 Being
hypervigilant
Phobias
PHOBIAS
ARE…
 I n te n s e ,
i r r a t io n a l f e a r
r e s p o n s e s to
s p e c i fi c s t i m ul i
 A fear turns
i n to a p h o b i a
when it
p r o vo ke s a
c o m p e l li n g ,
i r r a t io n a l
d e s i r e to av o i d
a dreaded
s i t ua t i o n o r
o b j ec t ,
d i s r up t i n g t h e
person’s daily
l i fe
 Nearly 5% of
t h e p o p ula t i o n
s u f fe r s f r o m
some mild form
of phobic
disorder
Obsessive-Compulsive
Disorder (OCD)
OCD IS A…
 Compound
disorder of
thought and
b e h av i o r
 C h a r a c te r i z e d
by o b s e s s i o n s
and
compulsions
 Obsessions are
p e r s i s te n t ,
intrusive, &
u nwa n t e d
thoughts that
a person
cannot get out
of their mind
 Compulsions
are ritualistic
b e h av i o r s
performed
r e p e a te d l y i n
o r d e r to
reduce the
te n s i o n
c r e a te d by t h e
obsession
Posttraumatic Stress
Disorder (PTSD)
PTSD IS A
RESULT OF…
 Some trauma
experienced
(natural
d i s a s te r, wa r,
v i o l e n t c r i m e ) by
the victim
 Tr a u m a i s r e experienced
through realistic
nightmares and
flashbacks

V i c t i m s m ay
experience
reduced
i nv o l v e m e n t w i t h
the outside
wo r l d
 General arousal
is also
experienced
c h a r a c te r i z e d by
hy p e r a l e r t n e s s ,
guilt, and
difficulty
concentrating
LEARNING AND BIOLOGICAL
PERSPECTIVES OF ANXIET Y DISORDERS
DEVELOPMENT
 Freud assumed that anxiety disorders are symptoms of
submerged mental energy that derives from intolerable
impulses that were repressed during childhood.
 Learning theorists, drawing on research in which rats are
given unpredictable shocks, link general anxiety with classical
conditioning of fear.
 Some fears arise from stimulus generalizations, such as when
a person who fears heights after a fall also comes to fear
planes.
DEVELOPMENT CONTINUED…
 Through observational learning, someone might also learn
fear by seeing others display their own fears.
 Research suggest humans might be biologically prepared to
develop certain fears.
 Compulsive acts typically are exaggerations of behaviors that
contributed to our species’ evolution.
DEVELOPMENT CONTINUED…
 Research shows the anxiety response is genetically influenced
 PET scans of individuals with OCD reveal excessive activity in
the region of the brain called the anterior cingulate cortex .
 Some anti-depressant drugs dampen fear -circuit activity in the
amygdala, thus reducing OCD behavior.
REFERENCES
 Maitland, L. L. (2003). Psychology: five steps to a 5 on the AP
exam. New York: McGraw -Hill.