Diagnosis and Treatment
Introduction to Behavioral Science
Anxiety disorder is a type of psychological disorder. It is said that anxiety disorders are one of the more common types of psychological disorders. As defined in our textbook “Anxiety disorders can be subdivided into several diagnostic categories, including specific phobias, panic disorder, and other anxiety disorders, such as generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive–compulsive disorder, and disorders caused by specific traumatic events” (Morris & Maisto 2010).
Phobias are one type of anxiety disorders. Phobias are placed into three categories. The first being a specific phobia which is a type of anxiety disorder described as extreme, paralyzing fear of something common. Common specific phobias may include needles, confined spaces, spiders, snakes, and heights. Almost 10% of Americans suffer from at least one specific phobia, (Morris & Maisto 2010). The second type of phobia is social phobia. It is not uncommon for people to experience some minor fear or feel uncomfortable in many social situations; however when these fears begin to restrict their ability to function in their day to day living environment, social phobia disorder may be diagnosed. One examples of social phobia is the fear of public speaking. The last type of phobia is agoraphobia. As defined in our textbook, “Agoraphobia is an anxiety disorder that involves multiple, intense fears of crowds, public places, and other situations that require separation from a source of security such as the home (Morris & Maisto 2010). Those who suffer from agoraphobia may have the fear of being alone, and may never leave their homes.
Treatment options for those diagnosed with phobia disorders would best respond with classical conditioning. One type of classical conditioning is systematic desensitization, a method for gradually reducing fear and anxiety, is one of the oldest behavior therapy techniques (Wolpe, 1990). Systematic desensitization works by slowly introducing a new response, such as relaxation with the anxiety- causing stimuli. Numerous studies show that systematic desensitization helps many people overcome their fears and phobias (Hazel, 2005; D. W. McNeil & Zvolensky,