papalagi (papalagi) wrote,

Encyclopedia of Psychology Alan E. Kazdin, PhD, Editor-in-Chief


Anxiety disorders usually are conceptualized as having three distinct components (Lang, 1977). The somatic component refers to the presence of physical sensations. Common somatic symptoms include heart palpitations, sweating, trembling or shaking, shortness of breath, choking, chest pain, nausea or abdominal distress, dizziness or light-headedness, derealization, numbness or tingling, and chills or hot flashes. These physical symptoms may occur alone or in various combinations. When four or more symptoms occur together (or fewer physical symptoms in combination with a fear of dying or a fear of losing control or going crazy) the result is termed a panic attack.

The second component of anxiety disorders (subjective distress), sometimes termed the cognitive component, usually consists of recurrent and unwanted intrusive thoughts, images, or worries.

Like physical symptoms, cognitive phenomena can be triggered by the occurrence of a specific event such as boarding an airplane. At other times, they occur spontaneously or are described as “ever present.”

Individuals with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) experience recurrent, intrusive, and unwanted thoughts. The content includes worries about contamination, harm to oneself or others, or thoughts that a catastrophic event might happen. The thoughts usually are accompanied by ritualistic behaviors designed to prevent or undo feared events. Rituals might include repeated washing or cleaning, repeatedly checking door locks or oven jets, or collecting (and refusing to throw away) useless items such as old newspapers or magazines. OCD affects about 2% of the general population.


Except for substance abuse, the anxiety disorders are the most common mental health problem in the United States, affecting approximately 25% of the general population (Kessler et al., 1994). They occur at any age and can be associated with substantial functional impairment. Without treatment, they tend to be chronic.


A recent study estimates that there are about 700,000 new stroke cases annually in the United States (Broderick et al., 1998), a large number of which lead to aphasia.

It is estimated that approximately 80,000 individuals acquire aphasia each year and that about I million persons in the United States currently have aphasia (National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders)

Tags: encyclopedia of psychology
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