Anxiety Disorders: Psychological Approaches to Theory and Treatment

Anxiety Disorders: Psychological Approaches to Theory and Treatment

Anxiety Disorders: Psychological Approaches to Theory and Treatment

Anxiety Disorders: Psychological Approaches to Theory and Treatment

Synopsis

Combining theoretical-research developments with a discussion of the nature and treatment of anxiety disorders, this textbook is intended for advanced undergraduate and graduate courses, as well as for mental-health professionals.

Excerpt

This book aims to present a comprehensive and up-to-date review of the anxiety disorders for the scholar, researcher, and clinician. Discussion is directed at the level of advanced students as well as mental health professionals already familiar with general psychological concepts and scientific methods. There are two major goals. The first is to review recent empirical and theoretical developments regarding fear, anxiety, and the anxiety disorders. Several major concepts dominate this discussion. First, imminence of threat, whether psychological or physical, whether perceived or real, underlies states of worry, anticipatory anxiety, and fear. Each state represents a qualitatively different set of responses that is most adaptive for different levels of threat imminence. The various anxiety disorders share these elements of worry, anticipatory anxiety, and fear, but differ in the source of threat.

A second major concept concerns etiological factors. In general, etiology of anxiety disorders is conceptualized as a series of interactive variables, including nonspecific, higher-order heritabilities and vulnerabilities that translate into general neuroticism, combined with lifetime experience that continually modulates second-order vulnerabilities for certain classes of stimuli. The latter determine which objects become feared and which anxiety disorder or disorders emerge. A third major concept is that new learning is the central ingredient to cognitive-behavioral treatments for anxiety disorders. Thus, cognitive, behavioral, and physiological variables that affect learning in general will influence treatments for anxiety disorders and can be manipulated in such a way as to maximize new learning (i.e., treatment success) and minimize subsequent return to older learning (i.e., relapse). Associated with this notion is the fourth major concept -- that in contrast to the permanence of fear memories, fear reduction is rather unstable, and reversion to older fear memories is possible, even after successful treatments, in the absence of continued rehearsal or strengthening of newer nonfearful learning.

The second major goal of the book is to provide sufficient coverage of each anxiety disorder such that researcher and clinician alike can conceptualize the disorder and identify it upon presentation, in accordance with descriptive criteria provided by current diagnostic nosology. In addition . . .

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