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Case studies: Abnormalities that Cause Fear, Anxiety and Distress
According to Clarkin and Lenzenweger (1996) fear and anxiety are normal adaptive experiences in our lives. Indeed, normal fear is necessary because it prepares us psychologically to respond to dangerous situations. However, whenever one develops fear in response to a situation that is not inherently frightening then this condition qualifies to be called an abnormality. In this paper, abnormality will be evaluated using three case studies.
In the first case study this woman has acute fear of snakes. In particular, the woman becomes distressed and anxious if she sees pictures of snakes, snake toys or if she sees lives snakes (Simmons). This situation qualifies as an abnormality due to various reasons. Firstly, this is an abnormality because this young woman’s response is far out of proportion to the danger posed by the stimulus. In normal situations people develop fear of being attacked by snakes but in this scenario seeing pictures of snakes does not warrant one to become fearful and anxious. Secondly, this is an abnormality because scenes that have snakes invariably provoke immediate anxiety and distress in this woman. Thirdly, this woman has developed an avoidance behavior to scenes that contain snakes or snakes pictures. Fourthly, her avoidance behavior to such scenes is likely to cause impairment to her life. For instance, as a result of this abnormality this woman is unlikely to accept jobs in zoos where there are snakes or work in places where she is likely to see pictures of snakes.
The second case study involves a young man who does not want to move out of the house for fear of being affected by the evil waves (Simmons). This condition amounts to an abnormality because typically there is nothing inherently frightening about moving out of the house. In addition, this young man fears to move beyond the house because he associates the outside world with anxiety. Other factors that qualify this condition to be an abnormality are: there is marked fear that is unreasonable cued by the idea of moving out of the house, moving outside of the house almost invariably provokes an immediate anxiety, the young ma.............
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