Sigmund Freud About Anxiety Disorders
Published on Wednesday, January 18th, 2012 at 10:44 pm and is filed under Psychology Tips
Sigmund Freud’ psychoanalysis: What are anxiety disorder and fear?
The first results of Sigmund Freud in psychotherapy of neuroses, depression, disorders caused him an interest in the origin of anxiety. This interest has led him (in 1890) to the assumption that the anxiety disorders experienced by many of his patients was the results of an inadequate discharge of libido.
Later, this famous psychoanalyst, Sigmund Freud has concluded that a state of increasing tension is the result of lost energy of libido. The excitation arising in situations of stress (or outside of it) transforms and manifests in anxiety neurosis. However the experience in treatment of neurosis and depression helped Sigmund Freud to understand that this interpretation of anxiety disorders and fear is incorrect. After 30 years, the great psychologist has revised his theory and concluded the following: anxiety is a function of “Id” and its purpose is to warn people of impending danger, which must be met or avoided. Anxiety allows the person to react in threatening situations by an adaptive way.
The origins of anxiety
According to the above thesis, the primary source of anxiety disorders is rooted in the inability of the newborn to cope with internal and external stimulation. Since newborns are unable to control their new world they are overflowed by a vague sense of impeding danger. This situation is a traumatic condition known as primary anxiety, which can serve as an example of the birth process.
In Sigmund Freud’s view – as a therapist – the experience of biological disunion from mother is traumatic and therefore the following situations of separation (for example, the child is left alone; he is left in darkness or finds a strangers there where he expects to see his mother) cause a reaction of anxiety. Such a feeling of extreme stress and helplessness experienced at birth, weaning, later is manifested in fear of castration. All such situations lead to increased tension and apprehension.
Types of anxiety: how do people feel anxiety?
Depending on where the threat appears for Id (from the external environment, from Ego or from Superego), psychoanalysis identifies 3 types of anxiety disorders.
Realistic anxiety. The emotional answer to the threat or the understanding of the real danger from outside (for example, dangerous animals or the final exam) is a realistic concern. It is basically a synonym for fear and can impair a person’s ability to cope effectively with hazards. Realistic anxiety subsides as soon as the threat disappears. In general, realistic anxiety helps to ensure self-preservation.
Neurotic anxiety. The emotional respond to the risk is called neurotic anxiety due to the unacceptable impulses from the It. It is based on the fear that I will be unable to control instinctual drives, especially sexual or aggressive. Anxiety in this case stems from the fear that when you do something terrible it would entail serious negative consequences.
For example, a small child learns quickly that an active discharge of his libido or destructive impulses will be a threat of punishment from parents or other social actors. Neurotic anxiety is experienced as realistic because punishment usually comes from an external source. Thus the defense mechanism of I come outside in form of common concern. When instinctual impulses of It threatens to I there appears a neurotic anxiety.
Moral anxiety. When “Id” feels a threat of punishment by the Superego the resulting emotional response is called moral anxiety. The moral anxiety arises when It seeks an active expression of immoral thoughts or actions and the Superego responds with feelings of guilt, shame or self-incrimination. The moral anxiety is derived from an objective fear of parental punishment (including the fear of losing parental love) for any actions (for example, for obscene abuse or theft at the store) that violate the perfect demands of the Superego. Superego directs the behavior to the channel of acts within the moral code of the individual. The subsequent development of the Superego leads to social anxiety, which arises in connection with the threat of exclusion from the peer group due to inappropriate attitudes or actions. Later, Sigmund Freud and other psychologists and psychoanalysts have seen that moral anxiety grows into a fear of death and expectation of future retribution for past or present sins.
Social anxiety Another common form of anxiety is social anxiety. In this case, the emergence of anxiety is related to different social situations, ie those where a person needs to communicate with other people. An example of this situation is the public speaking or meeting new people. Speaking of social anxiety disorder, often use the concept of shyness or timidity.
As a result, people with social anxiety, have difficulties in school and work, in establishing friendships and intimate relationships. Furthermore, the development of social anxiety can lead to such disorders as social phobia, with some forms of which one is not even able to go outside because of fear of contact.