What are anxiety disorders?
Fear, Anxiety, and Panic
Types of Anxiety Disorder
- Animal (e.g., snakes, dogs, sharks)
- Natural environment (e.g., heights, lightning, water)
- Blood-injection-injury (e.g., needles, surgery)
- Situational (e.g., flying in an airplane, riding on an elevator)
- Other (e.g., clowns, choking, loud noises)
Social Anxiety Disorder
- Accelerated heart rate
- Difficulty breathing
- Tingling sensations
- Fear of dying
- Feeling detached from yourself
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Causes and Development of Anxiety Disorders
- The initial reaction of fear/panic is learned through classical conditioning. This type of learning occurs when we associate a situation or object, which are often times neutral, with strong negative feelings. Even though the situation or object didn’t directly cause these feelings, these two factors may become linked in our minds.For example: a big earthquake happened while you were driving over a bridge. Even though the earthquake is what actually scared you, every time you look at that bridge you start to feel nervous and scared.
- As a result, the person then tries to lessen their conditioned fear/panic by avoiding the situation or object evoking the response. This process (called operant conditioning) rewards people for avoiding the things they are afraid of, because doing so reduces their fear.For example: the thought of driving over the bridge associated with the earthquake causes anxiety. So, even though it takes twice as long to reach your destination, you take a different route to avoid it.