Psychological disorders are fascinating to most of us, as they are to those who have them -- and it's an unusual one of us who doesn't at times suspect we have a disorder ourselves (especially after studying Intro to Psych!). Consider Russell Crowe's powerful and heartbreaking depiction in A Beautiful Mind of Princeton Professor and Nobel Laureate John Nash who suffers with schizophrenia, or Jack Nicholson's sad portrayal of a romance fiction novelist with OCD in As Good as it Gets -- the way people with psychological disorders think and experience life is intriguing to us, though frightening and often very sad.
Psychological disorders can be categorized into four general areas -- anxiety disorders, personality disorders, mood disorders, and schizophrenia.
Let's first take a look at the anxiety-related disorders and how they may relate to one another.
Why might people with Generalized Anxiety Disorder or Panic Disorder develop a lot of phobias? What specific kinds of learning might be involved? (Many of us have phobias to snakes or mice -- why would someone with very high anxiety develop many such phobias? Try to base your proposals on psychological theories, not "common sense.")
Anxiety is a fear response for those situations that an individual perceive as dangerous for them. They anticipate that particular situation to be posings ome sort of danger to them. This is response is learned through stress and trauma. Activation of sympathetic nervous system occurs during the anxiety response. Thus, repeated anxiety response strengthens the stress and trauma response, that develops as phobias, the extreme fear reaction for no obvious reasons. Some people are innately sensitive to anxiety and fear reactions, that makes vulnerable to develop phobias due to anxiety disorders and panic disorders.
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