What are the psychodynamic and cognitive theories of anxiety?

Updated: Mar 27, 2019
  • Author: Nita V Bhatt, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: David Bienenfeld, MD  more...
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Answer

The psychodynamic theory has explained anxiety as a conflict between the id and ego. Aggressive and impulsive drives may be experienced as unacceptable resulting in repression. These repressed drives may break through repression, producing automatic anxiety. The treatment uses exploration with the goal of understanding the underlying conflict. Cognitive theory has explained anxiety as the tendency to overestimate the potential for danger. Patients with anxiety disorder tend to imagine the worst possible scenario and avoid situations they think are dangerous, such as crowds, heights, or social interaction.


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