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Discussion Question: Comparison of Theories on Anxiety Disorders

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There are numerous theories that attempt to explain the development and manifestation of psychological disorders. Some researchers hold that certain disorders result from learned behaviors (behavioral theory), while other researchers believe that there is a genetic or biological basis to psychological disorders (medical model), while still others hold that psychological disorders stem from unresolved unconscious conflict (psychoanalytic theory). How would each of these theoretical viewpoints explain anxiety disorders? Does one explain the development and manifestation of anxiety disorders better than the others?

Considerations Specific to this Discussion: Keep in mind that this is an age-old discussion that has resurfaced in various forms since the early development of the DSM. As you are discussing these issues, imagine what it would be like to have been discussing these decades ago and how that may or may not differ from the current issues being addressed. Consider too the fact the the DSM now has a new edition, the DSM-5, with different specifications for many disorders

As we progress, I encourage you to take a few moments, and view the following brief related videos. Consider these in light of how we conceptualize anxiety and anxiety disorders. Is this more a matter of simple stress at times? Does stress simply exacerbate current symptoms to a point they become clinically significant? What happens when people are stressed or have symptoms consistent with an actual anxiety disorder?
The first video (Izzo, 2007) addresses the dynamics between the body, emotions, and memory. The second by Science Central (2008) addresses physiological aspects of stress and memory.  The final video (Stress Free Life, 2008) addresses the physiology of stress with a focus on the fight-flight responses.

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