Comparison of Theories on Anxiety Disorders Assignment

Comparison of Theories on Anxiety Disorders Assignment

Comparison of Theories on Anxiety Disorders Assignment

 Discussion Question:


Comparison of Theories on Anxiety Disorders

There are numerous theories that attempt to explain the development and manifestation of psychological disorders. Some researchers hold that certain disorders result from learned behaviors (behavioral theory), while other researchers believe that there is a genetic or biological basis to psychological disorders (medical model), while still others hold that psychological disorders stem from unresolved unconscious conflict (psychoanalytic theory). How would each of these theoretical viewpoints explain anxiety disorders? Does one explain the development and manifestation of anxiety disorders better than the others? Comparison of Theories on Anxiety Disorders Assignment

200- 400 words please

Three min resources with

in text citations and examples


you can use the following as a module reference

cite as university 2014

Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders such as panic disorder, specific phobias, and social anxiety disorder feature a heightened autonomic nervous system response that is above and beyond what would be considered normal when faced with the object or situation that the person reacts to. For example, a person with a specific phobia of spiders (called arachnophobia) experiences a heightened autonomic response when confronted with a spider (or even an image of a spider). This anxiety response must result in significant distress or impairment. In general, anxiety disorders have been linked to underactive gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain, resulting in overexcitability of the amygdala and the anterior cingulate cortex. Additionally, genetic research shows that anxiety disorders demonstrate a clear pattern of genetic predisposition

Charles Darwin’s Perspective

We talked about Charles Darwin when discussing evolution and natural selection. Darwin was also very interested in emotions. One of his books published in 1872,The Expression of Emotions in Man and Animals, was devoted to this topic.

Darwin believed that emotions play an important role in the survival of the species and result from evolutionary processes in the same way as other behaviors and psychological functions. Darwin’s writing on this topic also prompted psychologists to study animal behavior as a way to better understand human behavior.

James–Lange Theory of Emotions

Modern theories of emotion can be traced to William James and Carl Lange (Pinel, 2011). William James was a renowned Harvard psychologist who is sometimes called the father of American psychology. Carl Lange was a Danish physician. James and Lange formulated the same theory of emotions independently at about the same time (1884). As a result, it is called the James–Lange theory of emotions. This theory reversed the commonsensical notion that emotions are automatic responses to events around us. Instead, it proposes that emotions are the brain’s interpretation of physiological responses to emotionally provocative stimuli.

Cannon–Bard Theory of Emotions

In 1915, Harvard physiologist Walter B. Cannon argued for an alternative theory of emotionality, in which the experience of emotions and the triggering of physiological effects occur at the same time. Phillip Bard later elaborated this theory, which was then called the Cannon–Bard theory of emotions.

Modern Biopsychological Theory of Emotions

Because neither the James–Lange theory nor the Cannon–Bard theory fully explained all emotional situations, the modern biopsychological theory of emotions was developed. This theory proposes that all three factors (perception of emotionally provocative stimuli, physiological effects, and experience of emotion) are capable of influencing each other, in both directions. In other words, the perception of the stimulus can influence the physiological reaction and the emotional experience, the emotional experience can also influence the physiological reaction and the perception of the stimulus, and the physiological reaction can influence the emotional experience and the perception of the stimulus.

The exact way that the brain processes various emotions is not fully understood although the amygdala seems to be an important structure, especially in relation to fearful responses. The amygdala is a structure located in the interior of temporal lobes.


Hans Selye’s Perspective on Stress

The concept that emotions can affect health is commonly presented in the popular media. Hans Selye was an important contributor to this point of view. Selye proposed the concept of the general adaptation syndrome to account for the effect of stress on the body.



Effect of Stress on Health


Stress can also affect our body negatively. When we are continually bombarded by stress, our body might suffer the effects. Stress hormones increase blood pressure and have various other effects on the body that might not be adaptive over long periods. However, the exact mechanism of this process is still being researched


Major Depressive and Bipolar Disorders



Major Depressive Disorder

Major depressive disorder is characterized by a lowering of mood, energy, and activity that results in significant distress or impairment in life. There is much research focusing on imbalances in the monoamine neurotransmitters (dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin) in people suffering from depressive disorders. There seems to be significant evidence that there are genetic factors that contribute to the development of depressive disorders. In the brain, the amygdala and the anterior cingulate cortex show structural and functional abnormalities in people with depression.

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is characterized by an extremely elevated mood with increases in activity and energy (manic phase) followed by an equally low mood with decreases in activity and energy (depressive phase), resulting in significant distress or impairment. Typically, in people with bipolar disorder, the higher their manic phase, the lower the successive depressive phase will be. Similar to major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder seems to have genetic factors that contribute to its development, possibly disrupting the normal functioning of the monoamine neurotransmitters.



Obsessive–Compulsive Disorder




Obsessive–Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive compulsive disorder is characterized by repetitive thoughts and behaviors that result in significant distress or impairment in life. Common obsession and compulsion pairings include contamination/washing, harm/checking, and perfectionism/ordering and hoarding. There is much research demonstrating the genetic inheritance of obsessive–compulsive disorder. While early research showed that dopamine and serotonin are involved in obsessive–compulsive disorder, recent research suggests that glutamate may also play an important role in the disorder. Obsessive–compulsive disorder seems to be mediated by overactivity in the orbitofrontal cortex.

In the video, “It’s Not Me, It’s My O.C.D.,” you hear some actual clients discuss their symptoms and the effects that obsessive–compulsive disorder has on their lives. Pay attention to the neurological research and how that research is being used to help treat people with obsessive–compulsive disorder.