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Flashcards in Anxiety Deck (56)
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What are the three interrelated anxiety systems activated in response to a perceived threat?

Physical, behavioural and cognitive


How does the physical system respond to anxiety?

Fight/flight response activated by sympathetic nervous system. Mobilises resources to deal with threat. Physical symptoms.


How does the cognitive system respond to anxiety?

Attentional shift and hypervigilance (can't think about anything else)


How does the behavioural system respond to anxiety?

Safest response is to avoid/escape threat.
If you cannot escape, then respond with aggression.


Why are the three systems set up like this?

To keep us alive. Normal anxiety is necessary for survival.


What are specific 'prepared' stimuli?

Things in the environment that we are genetically predisposed to fear because they once posed a threat to us eg insects, animals, heights, enclosed spaces, anger


Threat appraisal --> ______ --> automatically elicits anxiety

Expectancy of harm


It is important to distinguish between the stimulus and the expected harm/outcome. Eg if public transport is the stimulus, what are different possible outcomes?

1. Embarrassment (social anxiety)
2. accident/death (PTSD)
3. germs/illness (OCD)


Expectancy of harm is the product of....

Perceived probability (how likely ppl will stare at me on the bus) and perceived cost (how bad will it be if people stare at me on the bus)


Estimations of harm are often based on...

Past experience (conditioning, reinforcement)
Observational learning
Instruction (parents telling you that water is dangerous)


People who are high in trait anxiety...

More tendency to perceive threat in ambiguous situations, and a greater anxiety response to the perceived threat


What is the difference between normal and abnormal anxiety?

In abnormal anxiety the anxiety occurs excessively or inappropriately in the absence of objective danger (or is excessive compared to the level of danger)


In abnormal anxiety
Physical fears: mainly _____ overestimation
Social fears: mainly _____ overestimation

Probability, cost


Explain internal dysfunction in regards to anxiety

The function of anxiety is to keep you alive. But in anxiety disorders, this function is no longer functioning as it is meant to, as the anxiety response is triggered in the absence of objective danger


What causes your anxiety disorder to maintain and get worse?



Why are anxiety disorders highly comorbid with one another and with substance abuse and depression?

Generalised biological vulnerabilities
- genetic loading towards neuroticism

Generalised psychological vulnerabilities
- trait anxiety, low perceived control

Specific psychological vulnerabilities
- role of experience, observation, instruction towards developing more specific threat-related beliefs
----> leads to specific anxiety disorders


Around 75% of people report that the age of onset for their SAD was between...

8 and 15 years


About _____% of people with SAD get better within a year



Clark and Wells (1995) offered the ....

cognitive model of social phobia


Cognitive Model of Social Phobia:
when faced with a social situation, it triggers a number of assumptions. What are the three different types of assumptions?

1. Excessively high standards (eg I must not screw up; I must please everyone)
2. Conditional beliefs about consequences (eg if I get anxious, they will think I'm an idiot)
3. Unconditional beliefs about the self (eg I am different, I can't cope)


Cognitive Model of Social Phobia
Once socially anxious person enters the situation, there is ...

an attention shift towards the self and how others perceive you
- do I look anxious?


What is a safety behaviour?

Something people do to avoid or stop the danger
- eg talking quietly, not talking, avoiding eye contact


Unfortunately safety behaviours only...

Increase self-focused attention
Increase anxiety symptoms
Interferes with social performance (comes across as aloof, unfriendly) --> confirms social fears


Cognitive Model of Social Phobia:
What happens once the event is over?

Post-event processing - replaying situation in head, finding more and more evidence of how bad it was, interpret innocuous events as negative
---> Increase/maintain anxiety
---> carry guilt/shame


What is first-line treatment of SAD?



What are the components of CBT for SAD?

1. psychoeducation
2. cognitive challenging
3. behavioural experiments (exposure)
4. stop safety behaviours
5. attention training
6. video feedback (reduce their negative bias of their performance)


Exposure tasks work better with...

a cognitive rationale


About ____ of SAD people get better with CBT



GAD is characterised by...

excessive and uncontrollable worry about a variety of events/outcomes


GAD first introduced in