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After repeatedly experiencing acute anxiety in a variety of contexts, the
individual may develop an overall sense of becoming less and less able to
competently manage anticipated episodes. Anxious persons seem to have lost, or
perhaps never have had, the ability to generalize their skills in one area to
deal effectively with contingencies in another. As a result, they may require
that everything be carefully planned or resolved to the last detail, before they
will take the risk of starting any new undertaking.
nike roshe run Often the feelings of anxiety are lessened or avoided through drugs, alcohol, sexual promiscuity, or other reactive behaviors. However, many positive
or constructive behaviors are also motivated by a need to control or avoid the
psychological discomfort of anxiety. Such behaviors are usually accompanied by
the illusion that what one chooses to do will be so pleasant and so rewarding as
to keep the anxiety permanently at bay. This, of course, is wishful thinking.
Behaviors engaged in to allay anxiety, whether judged positively or negatively,
may actually prove effective in reducing the feelings of anxiety. However, at
the same time, they will prove to be either functional or dysfunctional in terms
of how they affect the general well-being of the individual. In any case, the
motivation to act is provided by a need to move away from the present or
potential discomfort of anxiety.
Like other species, humans are preprogrammed to develop certain fears very
readily, even without any traumatic experiences of them. At certain stages young
children usually develop fears of sudden noise, movement, strangers, and
animals. Most of us dislike being stared at, or being near the edge of a cliff,
or being pricked or cut by a dentist or doctor. No one likes being separated
from his or her loved ones, and their death is a pain we all have to bear
eventually. Many people also have to endure calamities like fires, tornadoes, or
floods. Fortunately the human spirit shows considerable resilience in the face
of such adversity.
Since the beginning of modern theories and treatments of mental illness, the
phenonemon of anxiety has been a cornerstone in the formulation and
understanding of abnormal behavior. Freud's early work with the hysterical "Anna
O" and the phobic "Little Hans" led him to view the experience of pathological
anxiety in the form of specific phobias or nonspecific generalized anxiety as
defensive mechanisms that possessed adaptive features for the individual.
Anxiety is one of the most difficult psychological terms to define, yet it is
one of the most widely used. In addition to specific disorders characterized by
chronic and debilitating anxiety listed in the revised third edition of the
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (APA, 1987), including
generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, phobias, obsessive-compulsive
disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety is mentioned as a symptom
of most other disorders.
nike roshe men Perceived characteristics of an actual or imagined context can trigger feelings of anxiety. Predictable reactions of intense anxiety can become
associated with specific persons or groups of people, objects, places, a variety
of sensory stimulations, and particular times (i.e., early evenings, weekends,
holidays). The anxious reactions appear to be constructed from fragments of
memories or beliefs that relate in some negative way to the anticipated