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Up todate account on the commonest psychological disorder
on 16 June 2012
No one goes through life without experiencing anxiety from time to time.This concise book however is about the severe forms of anxiety that would be considered a clinical problem and represent the commonest type of emotional disorder afflicting millions.This is another pithy illuminating review from the Freeman brothers' team who produced a previous account on Paranoia that I thoroughly enjoyed.They have a knack of explaining complex psychological and neurobiological concepts with great clarity and fluency.The text provides a comprehensive look at all aspects of the condition,the theoretical explanations of the disorder, the interplay of genes and life experiences which influence susceptibility,a clinical description of the six main anxiety disorders and finally the treatment options on offer.
I particularly enjoyed their account of the cognitive aspects of the disorder.Emotions arise from the way we appraise or interpret events. Anxiety sufferers possess unhelpful schematic beliefs about themselves, overestimating the potential threats of future events and underestimating their ability to cope with them.They tend to use instinctive emotional reasoning.Fear is a product of interpretation as thoughts and feelings are closely related.It seems that " Cognitive psychology" is becoming the dominant paradigm in this field.The neurobiological explanations of anxiety in terms of imbalance of certain parts of the limbic system or the imbalance of the neurochemicals are undoubtedly important but their elucidation have not borne out any great therapeutic results.The practical applications derived from understanding the mistaken beliefs of the sufferer have led to formulate"Cognitive behavioural Therapy" that has been much more effective than treatment with drugs like SSRIs or Benzodiazepines.Unfortunately despite its success very few sufferers receive it because of considerable shortage of trained professionals in the field.
I was fascinated to learn that OCD(obsessive-compulsive disorder) is the only anxiety disorder which can be occasionally helped by means of Neurosurgery( cingulotomy)if intractable, as its neurological malfunction circuit is different from the other types.It was also interesting to find out that of all the phobias, blood phobia is the only one that result in a drop of blood pressure and possible fainting.Other phobias if anything put up the heart rate and blood pressure.
The text despite its conciseness is full of remarkable insights into this common emotional disorder.I would have liked a bit more information about stress and how it exacerbates the emotional reactions ,nevertheless this has been a thoroughly enjoyable and instructive read.