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Our Anxiety Disorders Topic Center has been Updated!

Mark Dombeck, Ph.D. was Director of Mental Help Net from 1999 to 2011. Dr. Dombeck received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology in 1995 ...Read More


The document starts by defining the nature of anxiety – an emotion related to fear.  After differentiating normal anxiety from problematic anxiety, it moves into a discussion of how problematic anxiety (e.g., anxiety disorders) occur; how they form and what keeps them going.  We lean heavily on the seminal work of David Barlow, Ph.D. in this explanation as his carefully argued and researched book on the subject (Anxiety and Its Disorders, Second EditionThe discerning reader might note that we don’t give space to the psychoanalytic theories that talk about anxiety disorders.  This is a deliberate choice, made on the grounds of utility and space.  We do think there are good insights into anxiety disorders that can be found within psychoanalytic formulations, but we don’t see them as terribly important for informing the treatment of anxiety.  Behavioral and cognitive behavioral formulations have produced scientifically validated treatments that have high success rates.  Consequently, we discuss what we know works and stay within bounds by doing so.

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