• Yena Kim

Updated: Jan 5, 2020

Like most people, I am uneasy about speaking in public.

I am better now, but I still remember how badly my teeth used to chatter no matter how many times I told my brain to stop. I hated feeling so embarrassed, and I wanted to change so badly. Luckily for me, things started to turn around when I got to high school because that was when I began to force myself to be in vulnerable situations in various speaking clubs.

However, others are not so lucky, and change isn’t as easy for them.

The line between what is normal and what is abnormal can be hard to detect because everyone feels a bit anxious from time to time. But people who experience constant feelings of fear and worry may be suffering from an anxiety disorder. If feelings of anxiety start to interfere with the individual’s ability to live comfortably, treatment may be necessary.

Anxiety disorders can come in many forms. One example is a phobia, which is an intense and irrational fear of a situation or object that poses little to no real danger. There are many types of phobias in the world. Aviophobia is a fear of flying, and alliumphobia is a fear of garlic. Agoraphobia is another common type of phobia, and it refers to the fear of open, public spaces. People may feel a great deal of anxiety if they get in contact with a particular situation or object.

Some may suffer from generalized anxiety disorder, or GAD for short. These individuals experience constant worries, and they frequently feel like a bad event is just waiting around the corner for them. Unfortunately, people with generalized anxiety disorder often have trouble identifying the reason for the anxiety.

While GAD involves constant, low-level anxiety, panic disorder is the complete opposite. Without any preparation, people with panic disorder can experience panic attacks that are sudden, short, and highly intense. Individuals often feel scared about when their next panic attack will return, so they tend to look for safe spaces and restrict their daily activities as a result.

Despite these terrible symptoms, anxiety disorders are quite treatable. Health care professionals typically treat their patients with the use of drugs. These drugs correct the chemical imbalances in the brain and overall body, making people feel more relaxed and relieved. Some of these antianxiety drugs include Miltown, Xanax (which resembles the word "anxiety" because of the letter "x"), and Valium.

People with anxiety disorders should not be afraid to seek treatment, and there shouldn't be a stigma. Mental illnesses should never go unchecked, and it is important to understand what they are because anybody can have them.

Note: According to the DSM-5, OCD is no longer classified as an anxiety disorder.

#yenakim #anxietydisorders #abnormalpsychology #mentalillness #phobias #generalizedanxietydisorder #panicdisorder #OCD

  • Abby Flyer

Updated: Jan 5, 2020

It’s 8 AM and you are standing in your kitchen, facing a classic dilemma: cereal first or milk first? You stare at the bowl, box of Cheerios in one hand, carton of milk in the other. Whichever approach you choose, you know you’ll have a great breakfast, but it won’t taste quite the same.

Like a delicious breakfast, psychology can be approached from many different perspectives. And just like individual breakfast-goers have their own preferred order of cereal-mixing, different psychologists have preferred psychological approaches to use when addressing an issue.

One popular approach to psychology is called the psychoanalytic or psychodynamic perspective. Inspired by the work of famous psychologist Sigmund Freud, the psychoanalytic perspective focuses on the way your past influences the decisions you make in the present and the way your unconscious mind can affect your conscious decisions. Freud used techniques such as free association, or speaking whatever thoughts come to mind, to help patients figure out what their subconscious secretly wanted.

If psychoanalysis is the cereal-before-milk approach, the milk-before-cereal approach would be behaviorism. Behaviorists like B.F. Skinner believe that every action occurs as a response to a stimulus. Behavioral psychology focuses on how rewards and punishments can condition, or modify, behavior.

Behaviorism was criticized by some psychologists as being too impersonal and disregarding the influence that emotions and thinking have on our actions. The humanistic perspective, practiced by famous psychologists such as Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow, stresses the importance of an individual’s wants, needs, and desire to fulfill their full potential. Humanists believe that we need to be provided with unconditional positive regard to grow successfully and live happy lives.

If you like to think outside of the (cereal) box, you may know of other cereal-pouring combinations, such as rapidly alternating between cereal and milk, pouring the milk directly into the cereal box, or dumping both simultaneously into your open mouth. Like cereal, psychological approaches can get creative!

The biological perspective examines the way our bodily functions affect our thinking and behavior. Psychologists with this frame of mind look at the effect that hormones and neurotransmitters have on different parts of our brain, which in turn influence how we behave.

If you’ve heard of Charles Darwin, you can probably guess how evolutionary psychologists study our mind and actions. Evolutionary psychologists believe that behaviors that we exhibit have been developed because they were useful in the survival of our primitive ancestors.

Last, but not least, is cognitive psychology, which focuses on the way our brain works to solve problems, sense and perceive, and store memory.

Whichever approach you use to look at a problem, psychology is ready to offer a delicious way to find a solution!

#abbyflyer #psychodynamic #psychoanalytic #sigmundfreud #freeassociation #behaviorism #conditioning #humanisticperspective #carlrogers #abrahammaslow #unconditionalpositiveregard #biologicalperspective #charlesdarwin #evolutionaryperspective #cognitivepsychology

  • Yena Kim

Updated: Jan 5, 2020

It's a Friday night out with your best friends.

You are laughing out loud and simply having a good ol' time while walking down an alley. Everything seems perfect, and you just can't stop smiling throughout the entire night. You and your friends are dancing like crazy kids, and everybody is having a good time.

But fast forward to the following Monday. You walk down the same exact alley after school. This time, you are alone. All of your friends are no longer around you. You start to feel a bit anxious as your eyes sharply dart left and right. You don't really remember the street lights being turned off, and every step you take seems to create an endless ruckus. It smells like something died, and you feel beads of sweat crawling down the sides of your face.

Hmm... This seems awfully confusing. Why does the alley feel completely different from last week? Was it something you ate? Is it something in the air? When you went down the alley last time, you felt completely fine.

Nah, blame it on the signal detection theory.

Every second, our brains receive loads of information from our senses. Perception is how we interpret and process all of this incoming information. The signal detection theory is one of the many perceptual theories known to date. This theory states that the level of things you can detect depends on your expectations, your physical and psychological state, and the intensity of those things.

So, think back to when you were walking with your friends. At that time, you were having way too much fun to be more aware of the darkness, cluttered environment, creepy noises, and strange smells. You were simply not motivated to pay more attention to these things, so your ability to detect different signals was interrupted. However, when you were alone, you didn't have those distractions to bother you. Everything around you seemed to be more intense despite the fact that you were in the same exact alley in both situations.

Our power to perceive things is a lot more complicated than we think. Can you think of other examples of the signal detection theory affecting your life?

#signaldetectiontheory #perception #sensation #yenakim