Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Anxiety is an unpleasant feeling of fear and apprehension it can occur in many psycho-pathology commonly known as emotion of fear and it is very common in all of us and is a common topic of study in psychology. It varies from person to person in terms of intensity and duration. Anxiety disorders were commonly known and grouped as neurosis characterized by unrealistic anxiety and related problems. This interpretation was based on Freud’s psycho analytical theory. D.S.M.II identifies certain disorders like phobia (fear and avoidance behaviour) Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD –the irrespirable urge to perform certain acts over and over again) Conversion disorder (paralysis and neurological symptoms).
All these varied symptoms are grouped under one group based on the psycho-analytical theory as they all reflect an underlying problem of repressed ‘id’ impulses. Further discussion and development in diagnosis found the above classification baseless. In D.S.M.III & D.S.M.IV T.R. we have more distinct diagnostic classes instead of neurosis. They are:

1.Anxiety Disorder
2.Somatoform Disorder
3.Dissociative Disorder.

Anxiety disorder is diagnosed when subjectively experienced feelings of anxiety are clearly present. D.S.M. IV T.R. proposes six categories of anxiety disorders. They are:-

1.Post-traumatic stress
3.Panic Disorder
5.Acute stress Disorder

Co-morbidity- A person with one anxiety disorder may meet the diagnostic criteria for other disorder as well. It is because of two reasons:
1.Symptoms of various anxiety disorders are not entirely disorder specific. E.g. Somatic signs of anxiety like perspiration, fast heart beat are not entirely disorder specific.
2.The ethological factors or casual factors which give rise to various anxiety disorders may be applicable to more than one disorder.
Phobia is a disrupting fear motivated avoidance that is out of proportion to the dangers posed by a particular object or situation and is recognized and realized by the sufferer as unreasonable. e.g. Extreme fear from height, fear of closed spaces, fear of snakes and spiders.
D.S.M. IV T.R. criteria
1. Excessive unreasonable persistent fear triggered by object of situation.
2. Exposure to the trigger leads to intense anxiety.
3. The person recognized the fear is unrealistic.
4. The object or situation is avoided or endured with intense anxiety.
The term phobia usually implies that the person suffers intense distress and social or occupational impairment primarily because of anxiety. The term phobia is derived from a Greek myth legend Phoebes, who frightened his enemies.


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