Learning Center Articles

Anxiety, Obsessive-Compulsive, and Related Disorders

Anxiety, Obsessive-Compulsive, and Related Disorders

  • Anxiety is an emotional response to anticipation of danger, the source of which is largely unknown or unrecognized.
  • Anxiety is a necessary force for survival. It is not the same as stress.
  • A stressor is an external pressure that is brought to bear on the individual.
  • Anxiety is the subjective emotional response to that stressor.
  • Anxiety may be distinguished from fear in that anxiety is an emotional process, whereas fear is a cognitive one.

Historical Aspects

  • Anxiety was once identified by its physiological symptoms, focusing largely on the cardiovascular system.
  • Freud was the first to associate anxiety with neurotic behaviors.
  • For many years, anxiety disorders were viewed as purely psychological or purely biological in nature.

Epidemiological Statistics

  • Anxiety disorders are the most common of all psychiatric illnesses.
  • More common in women than in men
  • A familial predisposition probably exists.
  • When anxiety is out of proportion to the situation that is creating it
  • When anxiety interferes with social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning