People who suffer from general anxiety disorder have general and persistent feelings of worry and anxiety on a regular basis. They typically have feel restless, excited or edgy, tire easily, have difficulty concentrating, suffer from muscle tension, and have sleep problems. The symptoms last at least six months. However, most people with this disorder are able to maintain social relationships and perform their job duties. No single perspective can explain why certain people develop this disorder and others do not.
The sociocultural perspective theorists argue that general anxiety disorder is most likely to develop in people who are faced with ongoing societal conditions that are dangerous. They believe people with low income and poor neighborhoods with high crime rates are more prone to develop the feelings of tension, anxiety, fatigue, and sleep disturbances found in this disorder. African American women have the highest rate of all for generalized anxiety disorder and sociocultural theorists believe that this is due to race being closely tied to income and job opportunity. Research has found that Hispanics suffer from a culture based disorder known as nervios (nerves), marked by enormous emotional distress, somatic symptoms, such as headaches, stomachaches, marked by poor concentration, nervousness, irritability, tearfulness, and trembling. However, most people in poor or unsafe environments do not develop this condition. In other words, even though sociocultural theorists believe this disorder is caused by socioeconomic status, most people in poverty situations do not have this disorder.
The psychodynamic perspective theorist, Freud, believed that all children experience some degree of anxiety as part of growing up and they all use ego defense mechanisms to help control such anxieties. He thought that children experienced three types of anxiety during development. The first, realistic anxiety, is felt when they face actual danger. The second, neurotic anxiety, occurs when they are repeatedly prevented, by parents or by circumstances, from expressing their ID impulses. And third, moral anxiety, happens when they are punished or threatened for expressing their ID impulses. Freud believed some children either experience high levels of anxiety or with weak defense mechanisms, are more likely to develop general anxiety disorder. However, todays psychodynamic theorists disagree with most of Freud’s explanations of general anxiety disorder. Although, many continue to believe that the disorder can be traced to early inadequacies in the relationship between children and their parents. They believe that people with general anxiety disorders are more likely to use defense mechanisms. They also believe that people who suffered extreme punishment for ID impulses as children, have higher levels of anxiety later in life.
Treatment from the psychodynamic approach uses the same general technique to treat all psychological problems. Therapists use free association and the therapists’ interpretations of transference, resistance, and dreams to help clients with general anxiety disorder become less afraid of their ID impulses and more successful in controlling them. Therapists help clients to resolve the childhood relationship that continues to cause anxiety in their adult lives. Studies have shown that short-term psychodynamic therapy has significantly reduced the levels of anxiety, worry, and social difficulties in some patients. Although, most cases showed little evidence.
Humanistic perspective theorists believe that general anxiety disorder is caused when people stop looking...