Fear

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NORMAL FEAR AND ANXIETY 172

DISORDERED FEAR AND ANXIETY 177

PANIC 180

GENERALISED ANXIETY AND WORRY 189 POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER (PTSD) 201

PHOBIAS AND OBSESSIONS 218

CONCLUSIONS 220

Though this be madness, yet there is method in it.

(W. Shakespeare, Hamlet)

A pregnant woman feels terrified that she will give birth to a monster; a man shopping in a supermarket suddenly panics and, throwing people out of the way, runs from the shop; a young girl never goes to parties nor out for a drink because she is afraid that everybody will laugh at her; a veteran of the Vietnam war dives for cover in his local high street when a car backfires; a middle-aged married woman spends her days and most of her nights worrying about her relationship, her job, and her personal finances; a young man is anxious before being interviewed for his first job; Susan is terrified and runs away when she comes across a bear in the woods; an old lady is frightened when she hears a noise in her house in the middle of the night.

Fear is the emotion theorist's favourite emotion because it seems so vital and functional when it works and so dysfunctional and disabling when it goes awry. Normal, healthy fear is functional in that it prepares and empowers the individual for fight or flight in the presence of appraised danger. Furthermore, the different components of the fear experience are clear: physiological arousal such as butterflies in the stomach, tension in the muscles, perspiration, dry mouth, and so on; cognitions such as thoughts about being in danger or of dying; and behavioural components such as avoiding the feared stimulus, running away, or fighting. For these reasons, fear is the prototypical example of emotional order. However, the divide between emotional order and emotional disorder can be breached in so many ways in the case of fear: phobias, panic attacks, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessions, pathological worry; these are all labels for types of disordered fear or anxiety.

Throughout this book, we have frequently used the emotion of everyday fear as an example to illustrate the philosophical and psychological issues that arise from the study of emotions. In addition, we took fear as the prototypical emotion in our development of the SPAARS model in Chapter 5. Consequently, we shall do little more than review these issues here, before going on to discuss the varieties of abnormal fear in some detail.

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Getting to Know Anxiety

Getting to Know Anxiety

Stop Letting Anxiety Rule Your Life And Take Back The Control You Desire Right Now! You don't have to keep letting your anxiety disorder run your life. You can take back your inner power and change your life for the better starting today! In order to have control of a thing, you first must understand it. And that is what this handy little guide will help you do. Understand this illness for what it is. And, what it isn't.

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