Humanistic Approaches to Positive Growth and Self-Acceptance


Anxiety:  An emotional state characterized by physiological arousal, unpleasant feelings of anxiety 3tension, and a sense of apprehension or foreboding.

Anxiety Disorders: A class of psychological disorders characterized by excessive or maladaptive anxiety reactions.

Anxiety is characterized by a wide range of symptoms that cut across physical, behavioral, and cognitive domains:

  • Physical features
  • Behavioral features
  • Cognitive features

Five types of anxiety disorders:

What distinguishes fear from anxiety?

  • Fear is a state of immediate alarm in response to a serious, known threat to one’s well-being
  • Anxiety is a state of alarm in response to a vague sense of  being in danger
  • Both have the same physiological features – increase in respiration, perspiration, muscle tension, etc.

“Anxious” Personality Disorders

The cluster of “anxious” personality disorders includes:

People with these disorders typically display anxious and fearful behavior

  • Although many of the symptoms are similar to those of anxiety and depressive disorders, researchers have found no direct links between this cluster and those diagnoses
  • As with most of the personality disorders, research is very limited
  • But treatments for this cluster appear to be modestly to moderately helpful, considerably better than for other personality disorders

Most common mental disorder in the U.S.

  • In any given year, 18% of the adult population in the U.S. experiences one of the six DSM-IV-TR anxiety disorders
  • Close to 29% develop one of the disorders at some point in their lives
  • Only one-fifth of these individuals seek treatment
  • Most individuals with one anxiety disorder also suffer from a second disorder
  • In addition, many individuals with an anxiety disorder also experience depression

Bernstein, D.A. & Nash, P.W. (2008). Essentials of psychology (4th ed.) Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.
Comer, R.J. (2013). Abnormal Psychology (8th ed).  Worth Publishers
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, (DSM-5) American Psychiatric Publishing, 2013
Feldman, R. (2013). Essentials of understanding psychology (11th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
Friedman, H.S. & Schustack, M.W. (2012), Personality: classic theories and modern research (5th ed). Boston: Pearson Allyn & Bacon.
McGraw-Hill.McGraw Hill Higher Education (2013), The McGraw Hill Companies, Inc.
Ryckman, R. M. (2013). Theories of personality (10th ed.). Mason, OH: Cengage Learning.
Sue,Sue, and Sue (2014).  Understanding Abnormal Behavior (10th Ed), Cengage Learning

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