The 3 main theories of anxiety

Anxiety is a complex phenomenon with psychological and physiological components. It is related to the visualization of negative facts in the future. For example, an anxious subject who is preparing to play a game of chess will be considered a loser before moving the first piece.

The theories of anxiety are diverseBut they all agree that those who present it feel somehow threatened by everyday and harmless situations.

Current knowledge about anxiety theories is constantly advancing. This progress is largely due to the many research studies that have been generated to date and especially those that are still open. Most studies are designed to test and create effective treatment approaches.

    Anxiety theories

    Let’s take a look at some of the anxiety theories that exist. To a large extent, these contributions have focused on the relationship between information processing and emotion.

    Although a varied number of theories of anxiety have been postulated, there are three basic directions:

    • Bio-information processing of images and affections, by Carl Lange.
    • Bower’s concept of an associative network.
    • Outline concept, by Beck.

    These three theories of anxiety are based on the belief that there are cognitive structures associated with anxiety disorders. We analyze its characteristics.

    1. Emotion and image: bio-information processing

    For bioinformation theory, the way information is stored is irrelevant, but the types of information stored and the results produced by activating this information. It assumes that all information processed by the human mind is encoded in the brain in an abstract way and at the same time.

    Specifically, bioinformation theory emphasizes that the basis of thought is based on logical relationships that could be expressed through formulations of propositional logic. The propositions are grouped together in psychic networks, the networks constitute an associative structure or associative memory of the emotion, which constitutes a kind of “affective program”. In the psychological treatment of phobias, generally emotional memory is activated, By a verbal method.

    2. Concept of associative network (Bower)

    Emotions are represented in memory in the form of units or nodes, in the form of an associative network (semantic network). The nodes are linked to other types of information: situations relevant to facilitate emotion, visceral reactions, memories of pleasant or unpleasant events, & c.

    Activation of an emotional knot facilitates accessibility to material that conforms to the mood (mood congruence hypothesis).

    Memorized material is best remembered when there is a link between the conditions under which it was initially learned and the conditions under which it is supposed to be memorized (mood dependence hypothesis).

    Bias operate at different levels of processing: attention, interpretation and memory. Experimental data suggests that depression is primarily associated with treatment bias and not memory bias.

      3. Contour concept (Beck)

      Bower and Beck have in common that they both believe that in patients with an anxiety disorder there must be a dysfunctional cognitive structure that leads them to produce certain biases in all aspects of information processing. They developed their theory by thinking more about depression than anxiety.

      So, for Beck, there is a poorly adaptive cognitive scheme that keeps anxiety high when applied to analyze and interpret reality. However, the reasons why the prevalence is maintained in a certain way are not sufficiently explained.

      Therapies associated with this psychological disorder

      Some of the most effective therapies for anxiety disorders

      1. Cognitive restructuring

      Cognitive restructuring is a general strategy of cognitive behavioral therapy. He aims modify the mode of interpretation and the subjective valuation of the subject, Through dialogue and maieutics.

        2. Exposure techniques

        When the anxious subject is afraid to speak in public, they may skip class to avoid making a presentation in front of their classmates. The aim of these techniques is that through repeated exposures and controlled by the therapist, the subject gradually gains control of the anxiety, until it subsides.

        3. Systematic desensitization.

        Instead of immediately confronting the subject with the feared situation or object, the treatment and exposure begins with a situation that is only mildly threatening, in an environment controlled by the therapist, to progress step by step towards the end. goal.

        You have to go to therapy

        Going to therapy will always be the best way to overcome anxiety or learn to control it. Science shows that psychotherapy is the best option to help the patient; it gives you techniques to relax and helps you see situations from a healthy perspective.

        Bibliographical references:

        • Nuss, P (2015). “GABA anxiety disorders and neurotransmission: a change in modulation”. Neuropsychiatrist Dis Treat 11: 165-75.
        • Rapee RM Heimberg RG (1997). “A cognitive-behavioral model of anxiety in social phobia.” Research and behavioral therapy. 35 (8): 741-56.
        • Rosen JB, SJ (1998). “From normal fear to pathological anxiety.” Psychological review. 105 (2): 325-50.

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