son paralyze ourselves – in our daily lives. Causes

Saturday, 27, 2018



#1: Pick ONE of the compare/contrast questions and answer in 1-2 detailed
paragraphs with supporting answers and citations.

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Compare and
contrast these concepts: the social causes of anxiety and depression


Anxiety and fear are a
natural reaction to threatening danger and, like pain, have an important function
for our survival. In case of anxiety, defense reactions are activated and the
body’s preparedness is raised. The alarm response is controlled by the autonomic
nervous system, which cannot normally be controlled with the will. Symptoms may
be feeling anxious and worried, have a palpitation, sweat, feel bad and have difficulties
breathing. Even though anxiety is harmless, it may feel scary. Anxiety can
sometimes grow so much that instead of protecting us, we limit – and even
paralyze ourselves – in our daily lives.


Causes of this type of
anxiety can be an innate to vulnerability, experiences during childhood or
association-learning. Severe stress situations in everyday life can lead to
anxiety, such as divorce or a life-threatening illness. Another thing that can
cause anxiety is to abuse alcohol or other drugs. But one can also get anxiety
without there being any real cause.


Depression on the other hand, is a common disease characterized by lowered mood, anxiety, psychomotor inhibition, sleep discomfort and decreased appetite. Life can feel meaningless and the “spark” of life is absent. Depression can come without any clear cause or be triggered by external events, such as major life changes, family problems or sadness. Difficult experiences earlier in life can make you more easily affected by depression in adulthood. Several different factors contribute to depression, such as biological vulnerability, heredity and stress. In difference to anxiety, depression may be an early sign of another disease such as dementia, brain tumor, shortage of thyroid hormone or other hormones and anemia. 

#2:  Which
theory discussed in the chapter was the best theory?  Explain your answer with examples. You can
also bring in additional background information. 

 In my opinion the best theory of the chapter was the Dissonance Theory, a theory created in 1957 by the American psychologist Leon Festinger (1919-1989) to denote the lack of consistency between different values, attitudes, thoughts, and perceptions that may exist with someone and between what he or she wants to do and actually does.  

Cognitive dissonance is about the pursuit of acting consistently with his
attitude or perception to achieve the best possible state of mind. It occurs
when two of a person’s perceptions say to each other, for example, a smoker may
have two perceptions of his smoking; that it’s dangerous but at the same time
it makes him relax. Two perceptions about the same thing yet that do not match
each other.

 Dissonance itself is unpleasant and therefore, people (according to the theory behind this term) resort to various ways of correcting it. For example, if a person has a boring job but has no other choice than doing it, can start speaking of it as interesting and thereby change their attitude to it and start enjoying it. Otherwise, there would be an inconvenient dissonance between how the work is experienced and how it is described. 

#3 Cognitive biases and distortions: Speedy thinking
and decision-making can be great but can also lead us into flawed thinking full
of bias. Provide real examples
of 2 biases and 2 distortions. 

 a)Placebo effects are positive treatment effects that are created through a treatment ritual in combination with the psychological interaction between a therapist and patient. The effects of placebo are largely based on the expectation that treatment will be useful.The placebo effect is difficult to distinguish from spontaneous improvement of disease symptoms, and its real existence is therefore sometimes doubted. The effect is particularly strong when the patient’s experience of the disease is the central problem, for example in chronic pain and depression. Classical examples of placebo effects are symptomatic relief of sugar pills. In order to test whether a medicine works, it is necessary to take the placebo affect into account. What you do is to gather a study group of patients, all whom will receive the “same” medication. Only half of the group gets the right medicine, while the other half gets sugar pills (placebo). By comparing the outcome of the placebo group with the outcome in the medication group, you can see what is the real effect vs. placebo effect. 

It is not only in the world of finance people tend to stick their heads in
the sand when receiving bad financial forecasts. The ostrich bias may apply to
people in many different ways and situations. For instance, people who are in
debt with their rent or something similar, or maybe a crisis-filled life
situation, they tend to act irrationally and in denial. For example, a person
who is being evicted may instead of acting rationally, completely ignore the
eviction, denying it and as a result not opening the door, answering the phone
or opening mail.



I would say that real life examples of catastrophizing happen every day,
non-the least in university environments and colleges. For instance, when it’s
time for midterms students generally get worried and anxious over their
results. Students worry that they will fail their exams, jumps to the
conclusion that failing would be a complete catastrophe. This in turn leads to the
thought that failing the midterm would lead to becoming a failure in the future
and never gain success in their choice of career.


The second distortion I chose is “jumping to conclusions”, a distortion I
feel somewhat connects to catastrophizing. When you jump to conclusions, your
mind is filled of negative thoughts that trigger negative emotions. Whatever
outcome you are thinking of, it’s bad and it’s not going to happen, its set in
stone. A typical real-life example would be when you go to the doctor for a
check-up. No matter what, you expect the worst possible outcome even though you
have no idea if you have a health issue or not.



#4.  From
Self-Awareness to Action: Diluting the distortions and biases. 


There are different ways to combat different types of biases and distortions. These are some of the ways that I would combat these problems on my own, note that they are natural since I strongly believe in holistic healing processes.  Go outside! Our modern society is very confined and many people don’t have time or choose not to go outside in the nature on a daily basis. By getting out, you help your body set your inner clock, which in turn prevents depressive thinking. Thirty minutes out in the sun every day has a very powerful effect if you suffer from depression. Living in Sweden, we know the importance of natural light therapy! If you have a lot of “musts” in your life, and getting things forced on oneself can easily lead to anxiety. Try to sort as much as possible out of the activities you do not feel comfortable with as long as you can continue living a normal life. Keep in mind, however, that if you are depressed, maybe everything feels like “must” because it’s hard to find happiness and meaning. Then you may sometimes have to force yourself to do things after all.  Alcoholic beverages and drugs create a lot of anxiety and may lead to depression. Even though it may be soothing at the time, it may lead to severe problems in the long-run and should be avoided or have a balanced intake.