What you should know about anxiety sensitivity

Research shows that approximately 25% of the population will, at some point in their lives, meet criteria for one or more anxiety disorders.  Additional research over the last 25 years or so has shown that not everyone who experiences high-fear producing events develops a problem with anxiety.  For example, some people who have been in serious combat situations develop symptoms of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, but most don't.  Why?  Beginning with our 10th anniversary issue, Strides will be presenting articles describing factors, such as personality, genetics, and learning, that increase the likelihood that a person will develop an anxiety disorder.  The articles, written by foremost psychologists and psychiatrist, are formatted so that people who want to read more about these “vulnerability” issues can use the references contained in the article.  We hope that this series of articles helps you understand more about the nature of anxiety, anxiety disorders, and why we develop them.

The first in the series, What you should know about anxiety sensitivity, written by two eminent Canadian psychologists, Drs. Watt and Stewart, describes a personality dimension that has been shown to be a major predictor of who is likely to develop almost all anxiety disorders.  Their recent self-help book, Overcoming Fear of Fear, is a must-read for both professionals and those with anxiety related problems.  Future articles will describe how other personality factors, genetic factors, and learning experiences can influence whether we develop anxiety related problems. Find the article here: "What You Should Know About Anxiety Senistivity".