Psychological Disorders

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Among many psychological disorders, anxiety disorders are the most predominant in the United States. According to Antony (2011), anxiety disorders affect nearly 28.8 percent of the population. An extreme and unrealistic anxiety is the most common symptom that characterizes all the psychological conditions within the category of anxiety disorders. The category includes specific phobia, agoraphobia, social phobia, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. This paper examines obsessive-compulsive disorder discussing the major etymological explanations of anxiety disorders in general, specifically describing the condition, and discussing actual treatments for the disorder. Anxiety played an important role in the psychoanalytic theory, and, as a result, psychoanalytic interpretation is important to understand anxiety disorders. In the psychoanalytic interpretation, anxiety is defined an intense sensation of endangerment and an unconscious mechanism produced by unconscious conflicts. According to Wolman and Stricker (1994), it can be understood as a symptom that is the cause and effect of itself and a product of past experience, psychological mechanisms, and psychic contents like persecutory anxiety or separation anxiety. For Freud, nervous anxiety was produced by sexual frustration and repressed sexual drives, or libido. In his theory, sexual frustration creates a biochemical imbalance that results in anxiety. However, this idea does not have support on the empirical basis because there is not a biochemical process that correlates with Freud’s theory. In addition, on the psychological basis, sexually abstinent people do not always experience extreme anxiety (Wolman &ump; Stricker, 1994). On the other hand, psychoanalysis is considered a treatment for emotional disorders. Psychotherapy’s effectiveness is based on the cathartic or abreactive method used, where the patient releases psychological tension by re-experiencing traumatic events. Although anxiety can be produced by repressed sexual drives, it can also be produced by many other repressed emotions like anger, jealousy, and fear. When these repressed emotions try to reach the conscious, anxiety appears from the unconscious fears related to the traumatic experience. Then, these affects, emotions associated with ideas or actions, are re-repressed by secondary defenses. Using this idea, Freud described and explained many dynamic processes involved in anxiety disorders. For instance, displacement would be a secondary defense in phobias, while reversal and reaction-formation would be secondary defenses in obsessive-compulsive disorder (Wolman &ump; Stricker, 1994). However, Freud had to revise his theory after empirical evidence demonstrated that abreaction of affects only relieve the symptoms temporally. In his second model, Freud said that anxiety was a signal for the anticipation of danger that produces defense mechanisms. In a way, anxiety expresses the level of conflict in the unconscious. For this reason, abreaction represents only a partial treatment because it does not resolve the cognitive element of anxiety. Anxiety would be permanent reduced changing the unconscious anticipation of danger. Nevertheless, cognitive elements of anxiety are not just based on innate needs and desires. They are based in sociocultural-historical contexts or self-experience. In this matter, Freud theory is limited (Wolman &ump; Stricker, 1994). The behavioral interpretation of anxiety disorders is based a model developed through animal experiments. In these experiments, animals received waning signal and an aversive stimulus. Later, animals experienced anxiety just with the warning signal even if the aversive stimulus was not given. Behavioral psychology suggests that fear is acquired through a similar process, called classical conditioning, and produces the avoidance behavior. However, empirical evidence...
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