Anxiety and the Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety and the Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety and the Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety and the Anxiety Disorders

Excerpt

A. Hussain Tuma and
Jack D. Maser

The various roles of anxiety in human behavior and in psychiatric disorders have long been recognized by psychologists, psychiatrists, and psychophysiologists. The instrumental survival value of anxiety must be acknowledged to be as essential in human experience as that of pain. Research attention to the biological, behavioral, and experiential components of anxiety has, however, waned in the past several decades. Much of the early impetus to examine the source and roles of anxiety in psychiatric disorders came from psychoanalytic writings, particularly those of Freud and his students based on case histories and clinical observations of individuals. Significant contributions also were made by behavioral psychologists concerned primarily with the treatment of fears and phobias, particularly in children. World military conflicts and catastrophies provided opportunity for field studies of stress and anxiety under naturalistic conditions, but these efforts were not, for the most part, systematic, broad gauged, or coordinated. Clearly, there is a pressing need to explore biological, psychological, and behavioral components of anxiety; to develop valid models that can bring these phenomena under laboratory control; and to construct theories that accommodate and summarize existing knowledge while simultaneously serving a heuristic function.

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