How Anxiety Disorders Develop: The “Spread” of Fear

How Anxiety Disorders Develop: The “Spread” of Fear

Clients often ask, “Why do I have an anxiety disorder?” or “How did this happen to me?”. The Behavioral Associates Los Angeles Mental Health Psychiatric Resources for Anxiety and Mood Disorders Symptomsdevelopment of anxiety disorders is complex combination of genetic predispositions and learning experiences. However, this post will discuss one factor that distinguishes individuals with an anxiety disorder from those who do not develop anxiety disorders: fear generalization. Fear generalization refers to the process by which fear “spreads” from one object, sensation or situation to others that are similar to it. For example, a soldier returning home from combat may have fear when driving because his convoy was attacked on a road in the war zone. As this fear spreads to more and more situations, the individual may report greater impact on his daily life. Continue reading

Exposure Therapy: Learning to Feel Safe

Exposure Therapy: Learning to Feel SafeBrain_thinkdesign_shutterstock_176571203

As discussed in previous posts, a core component of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is overcoming avoidance and starting to face your fears. This is known as “exposure therapy” and is one of the most effective treatments for anxiety disorders such as panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder and specific phobia. Continue reading