L5 - Stress, Anxiety & Trauma Flashcards Preview

Psychopathology of Everyday Life > L5 - Stress, Anxiety & Trauma > Flashcards

Flashcards in L5 - Stress, Anxiety & Trauma Deck (35):

What is stress?

- Physical, mental and emotional human response to a stressor.
- Biological and psychological response experience when encountering a threat that we feel we DO NOT have the RESOURCES to deal with


What is the biological conceptualisation of stress?


When under stress, Hypothalamus releases CRH, which activates the pituitary glands, which then releases ACTH into the blood stream, when prompts adrenal glands to produce cortisol and adrenaline.

There is also negative feedback in the sentence that the cortisol further activates the H and P.

- This stimulates HR, dilates pupils, releases stored glucose for energy etc.


What are some sympathetic biological responses for the flight or fight response?

Dilated pupils
Inhibited flow of saliva
Inhibited bladder contraction
Release stored glucose
Dilated Bronchi
increased HR
digestion decrease


What are some parasympathetic biological responses for the flight or fight response?

stimulated flow of saliva
constricted bronchi
slows HR


What are the limitations of the biological/physiological conceptualisation of stress/

- cannot fully explain the experience that individuals go through when stressed.
- only focuses on biological impacts of stress, what about the mind, and how stress is maintained?
- Doesn't take into account personality types, bad experiences etc.


What is the psychological conceptualisation of stress?

Stress as a stimulus...
- can elicit a coping response
- externalises the cause of distress
- assumes that all individuals will respond in the same way to a given stressor...

Stress as a Response..
- An individual can describe feeling stressed or distressed
- difficult to identify what will elicit stress and what won't
- stress response can occur in reaction to events that are not normally themselves provoking


Describe stress as a stimulus

Stress as a stimulus...
- can elicit a coping response
- externalises the cause of distress
- assumes that all individuals will respond in the same way to a given stressor...

can be good and bad stressors/stress.


Describe stress as a response

Stress as a Response..
- An individual can describe feeling stressed or distressed
- difficult to identify what will elicit stress and what won't
- stress response can occur in reaction to events that are not normally themselves provoking

maybe different personality types: type B better at stress than Type a


What are some examples of positive stress?

marriage, pregnancy, vacation, christmas.


What are the 3 types of stress?

Acute - adrenaline, hormone change

Episodic - different points in life.

Chronic - continuous over long periods of time, less intense. More damaging than acute.


What is the Stimulus - Organism - Response Model?

- Says that there is an interaction between stimulus and organism in the response of stress.
- takes into consideration the role of individual differences, such as personality type
- however, this is a STATIC MODEL and does not explain why an individual responds different to similar stressful situations at different times.


What is the transactional model of stress?

this model emphasises the role of appraisal, which is influenced by an individual's perception of whether the stimulus is threatening, and whether they have the resources to cope.

At a particular point in time, one has different resources available, and thus will differ in appraisals.



What are the advantages of the transactional model of stress?

- influences our thinking and treatment for anxiety problems
- recognises that other psychological processes contribute to individual differences in response to stressors/moderate appraisal to stressors:
- hardiness
- locus of control (extent to which one thinks they can control events affecting them)
- self efficacy
- personality factors


What is the term for good stress?



What is anxiety?

A negative mood state characterised by the fear of apprehension about the future - FEAR OF LOSS

Associated mood states - fear, panic (more abrupt, intense and acute).


Anxiety disorders and comorbidities?

50% of people with affective disorder meet diagnostic criteria for anxiety disorder as well.

Often b/c some symptoms of other disorders can create anxiety.


What is worry?

They are thoughts and images negatively affect-laden relatively uncontrollable.

It attempts to engage a mental problem-solving on an issue whose outcome is uncertain but contains possibility of negative outcomes.

---> worrying can be reassuring.. some think that it helps the problem


What is GAD?

Generalised Anxiety Disorder

A. Excessive anxiety and worry occuring more days than not for at least 6 months about a number of events of activities.
B. Person finds it difficult to control the worry.
C. 3 or more of:
- Restlessness
- easily fatigued
- irritability
- muscle tension
- sleep disturbance
- difficulty concentrating/going blank.
D. causes clinically sig distress
E. not due to anything else.


GAD and comorbidity?

67.8% of people with GAD have a comorbid mental disorder.

Most commonly, MDD.


GAD onset?

Usually before 25 years.


GAD across genders?

Incidence is half in men than in women.
Found that men tend to internalise their problems, whilst men generally externalise them.


GAD prognosis?

If untreated, typical course is chronic with a low rate of remission, and moderate recurrence rate.

Low rate of treatment seeking and often precedes other mental health problems.


What are some risk factors to GAD?

- Genetics
- Illness
- Female
- parental style (overprotective, intrusive)
- temperament
- early childhood experiences (bullying)


What are the 3 psychological processes associated with GAD?

1. Biases in thinking and reasoning
2. Worry as avoidance
3. Beliefs about worry


Explain what biases in thinking and reasoning are.

The way people with GAD tend to pay more attention to signs of potential threat than others, tendency to interpret ambiguous things as dangerous, and rate the possibility of something negative happening as more likely.


Explain what it means to worry as avoidance.

Those with GAD tend to worry to manage fear.
It has been shown that worry may reduce physical signs of arousal, possible because it takes the form of thoughts rather than images.

It gives people the sense of 'doing' something, and being in control. However, it's not good in the long term as they never realise that the things might not happen, and thus miss out on experiencing something.


Explain people with GAD's beliefs about worry.

Those with GAD may believe that worry is helpful to them in some way.
But, it does not prevent bad things from happening or increase preparedness. Might actually interfere with ability to solve problem.

- they can't tolerate not knowing what will happen - worry in attempt to predict future

- they can worry about the worry itself.. then try to suppress the worry (meta-worry).


Treatment for GAD?

- Medication (short term) - benzodiazepines
- Psych treatment: focussing on the form of the worry, rather than content. similar short term effects but better long term effects than medication.
- CBT: Challenging beliefs about worry (meta-worry)


What is trauma?

The development of characteristic symptoms following exposure to 1 or more traumatic events.


What is PTSD?

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.
clinician specifies if acute, chronic or delayed

1.Person was exposed to death, threatened death, actual or threatened serious injury/sexual violence.
2. Direct exposure/Witnessed in person/Indirectly by learning that a close relative/friend was exposed to trauma.
3.Repeated or extreme indirect exposure to aversive details of the event(s).

B: intrusion symptoms
1. traumatic even is persistently re-experienced by either involuntary memories, dreams, dissociative reactions (flashbacks) or intense psycho. distress.

C: avoidance of trauma related stimuli

D: Alterations in arousal and reactivity
- feelings of detachment, inability to experience positive emotion, exaggerative -ve beliefs about self/world.

E: Marked alteration in arousal
- irritability
-sleep disturbance


What is acute stress disorder?

Essentially PTSD but occuring within the month of traumatic event

different from PTSD on the symptom of "disassociation"

doesn't really predict PTSD.


Pre-trauma PTSD Risk Factors?

- Female
- Personality - high neuroticism
- Age - young (means less likely to cope)
- Lower intelligence/lower education
- unstable family during childhood
- pre-existing mood/anxiety disorder
- family history of mood/anxiety disorder


Trauma-related risk factors?

- interpersona trauma
- perceived degree of light threat
- predictability and controllability
- duration and freq


Peri-traumatic reaction risk factors?

- arousal - HR in acute post trauma phase
- disassocoiation at time of trauma - if they seperate it out of their consciousness when it happens, they don't get a chance to process it, and makes it more difficult.


Post trauma risk factors?

- level of social support, positive support
- validation of experience (to make sense of what happened)
- opportunities to 'process' the experience