Anxiety and Mood Disorder Lecture

Welcome to another review and description of an audio lecture I have collected over the years. This time we have another lecture series from The Teaching Company. This course is called “Psychology of Human Behaviour” and is taught by Professor David W. Martin.

I enjoy listening to this course, because my other job is a carer’s representative/consultant for carers. These carers care for those suffering mental health difficulties. You can learn a lot from this course, where lectures are again 30 minutes long and the lectures hit a massive 36 episodes.


Professor David W. Martin

Here I look at lecture number 8, which looks at Anxiety and Mood Disorders and their sub classifications. Be warned though, the new DSM book  is out, which is DSM-V, this lecture centres in on the classification off DSM-IV. What I mean by DSM is that it stands for “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders”. It is a book used by psychiatrists or those studying in the field to recognise certain mental illnesses.

Professor David gives a quick run down of the illness and breaks things down to prepare you for the lecture material, just in case you do not want to listen to the whole of the lecture. He mentions that these two mental illnesses are a lot of what you see regarding mental health problems, however the good news is that many do not have not be institutionalised for these.

First the lecture describes Anxiety and its sub classification. Prof David discusses Phobias and OCD. OCD stands for obsessive compulsive disorder.


David then starts out that Anxiety used to be called neurosis, he mentions that Freud use to treat these. Such disorders have been around for a long while. sufferers have severe worry of a possible danger. David then talks about Phobias and what they are. I guess a general description is that they are undue fears and can cause avoidant behaviour. Such avoidant behaviour can actually reinforce the fear.

Prof David then breaks down the different types of phobias. We look at animal phobias. In fact the lecture mentions that evolutionary psychologists have also looked at this type of phobia. Such phobias actually effect a large population, it could be built into us as a survival instinct.

We then look at other phobias one category is Natural environments phobias, which are fear of earthquakes, floods, fires and so on. Still its not that it is an illness to be afraid of these, but only when there is a less chance of them and how we behave in order to protect ourselves. Then David discusses another phobia as fear of damage to the body, such as fear of blood, injection phobias and many more threats to the body.

We then look at situational phobias, such as flying in an air plane or being a passenger of a car and other situations where you would probably see in the Final Destination movies.

Phobias seems to be more present in women at 16% than in men at 7%, but this statistic can change, since this course is a little old now. Phobias Can be dealt with by using behavioural therapies, I am sure other remedies exist though.

We then look at another subcategory which is Panic disorders

Prof David states in the lecture that these tend to be set off by itself, for little or no reason.
He discusses the signs of panic and how it affects the body. Plus how they occur and can appear fast and then go away almost just as quickly.

A good example of a panic disorder is Agoraphobia, which is fear of crowds, which causes the suffer to stay at home.


Suffers range from 5% for women, 2% for men on panic disorders, which can be dealt by using cognitive behaviour therapies.

Next Prof David moves on to describing Generalized anxiety disorders. He breaks this down in what this means and how it affects suffers. Usually they have a chronic unhappy condition of life. This affects them by making them unhappy, have headaches and cause sleep disturbances. There are many other patterns. The lecture gives a good example of a suffer who had a bad upbringing. We then move on to the final sub category of anxiety disorder. This being OCD, which means Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

OCD causes some of the following being intrusive thoughts and repetitive behaviour. A good example is Fear of germs, here the lecture mentions its first celebrity suffer being Howard Hughes who had a fear of germs. You can also suffer by having a fear of messing something up, but this is increased by 10 times. We then have another example of nurse with fear of AIDS. She washes herself almost continually.


Unfortunately some suffers have co-mobility, which is more than one condition. Treatments range from behavioural therapies to taking Prozac.

We then look at the next major category and its sub categories being Mood disorders. The lecture talks about unipolar depression and its classification. We notice that women get this more than men, suffers can get a life time suffering from this symptom.

Other similar illness are Dysthymia and suffers can be depressed for most of the day, then it can go up for 2 years. It can affect suffers by causing low self esteem and concentration problems. We also have depressed moods, even though nothing triggered it. Unfortunately it can be a real difficultly diagnosis problem. Since many suffer from depression, but how can you tell if its chronic?

It can affect suffers by fatigue, sleep problems, a sudden eating change, slow down of activity or thoughts of death or suicidal thoughts. Plus it can re-occur again. The lecture mentions what treatments can help suffers deal with the symptoms such as anti-depressant drugs, inhibitors, ECT which I believe stands for Electroconvulsive therapy and is very controversial.

The lecture next looks at bipolar depression, suffers tend to be about the same, for men and women. It is quite easy for most if not all people to get depressed, e.g. death of a loved one.

So what’s the difference?

Again it is probably the length of time one suffers from the illness.

Suffers can have depressed episodes or manic episodes and some get the swings of highs and lows. That meaning when they feel excited, full of energy and then next they are slow, depressed and lack of energy.

The lecture describes how it affects suffers. Then the lecture talks about Hypno mania. Some controversial issue is that some actually like being on a high, since it can cause a burst of creativity. Suffers tend not seek medication, one reason is that they ll feel they are on a low depending on side effects and loss of manic symptoms. Treatment can range from anti-depressive drugs, lithium for the manic phase. Suffers can actually hit into psychosis if mania is not dealt with soon enough.

Lastly the lecture looks at suicide. It interesting that the lecture mentions women try suicide at a higher rate than men, but men tend to actually have a higher rate of success when it comes to taking their own lives.


The lecturer tends to talk a lot more slowly in this lecture, so it is easier to grasp some concepts, but beware other lectures in this course are quite challenging. The course is recommended as a start out into looking into the world of psychology.


The Neurological Origins of Individuality

Well this time I decided to do more psychology/biological lecture reviews. I only gone and happen to choose one of the harder courses though, I am not even sure why I ve decided to do this, however its worth a try. This course is from “The Teaching Company”. It is called “Biology and Human Behavior : The Neurological Origins of Individuality” and it is taught by Dr Robert Sapolsky.

Robert Sapolsky

Dr Robert Maurice Sapolsky

Dr Robert Maurice Sapolsky is an American neuroendocrinologist, professor of biology, neuroscience, and neurosurgery at Stanford University.

Dr Robert Sapolsky begins talking about what makes our heart beat faster, what is stimulating us? It seems that the power of thinking a thought is amazing and that effects how our body begins to change and react, but How?

Dr Robert describes in this lecture that most of the time it is neurons, which we cannot easily control. Robert raises the question on what causes these to be uncontrollable at times? The answer tends to be different human emotions, like blushing, fear perhaps even lust.

Unfortunately if you get hold of the audio version of this course, certain descriptions are shown in video, so can be difficult to understand when Robert is describing a diagram.


The main theme in this lecture he talks about The autonomic nervous system. How can this be regulated and what causes this.
The keyword is regulation, it is so important the regulation of the nervous system is kept running otherwise diseases will occur.
The Autonomic Nervous System effects every part of our body. It sends projections to our body depending on our emotions.

Dr Robert looks into What happens when The Autonomic Nervous System goes wrong. Robert also explains a bit about The sympathic nervous system. How the sympathic nervous system releases adrenaline, which he talks about a bit more. The sympathic nervous system is for emergency and arousal, it is stated for the four F’s Fear, flight, fright and erm….sex. Its sort of a joke, but at least he gets you remembering about it.

The parasympathetic nervous system, is the opposite. When you eat too much, its more calming, or more distressing for calming you down. Even used for sleeping

Dr Robert spends quite a bit of time talking about these two different nervous system. Sympathic for emergency, arousal, parasympathetic nervous system for calm and non arousal. When one nervous system is on, it cancels out the other. They should not both be working with each at the same time. Remember, the keyword is REGULATION.

Dr Robert asks What regulates these systems? well its your heart, but he does mention the brain functions later on in this lecture.

Dr Robert also talks about how the heart works, and he reminds us how the sympathic speeds up the heart and parasympathetic lessens your heart beat, although the brain tends to tell your heart how fast to beat.When we want to slow down, taking a deep breath is down to parasympathetic. Robert gives in great detail of this lecture about how parasympathetic nervous system helps when for example you are running for your life from something, He describes how your gut shuts down, how your fat cells, your liver. The gut takes a lot of energy to run, but when in fear the gut shuts down.

Why does your mouth dry? because your gut shuts down, sympathic nervous system, one system speeds up organs, but shuts down organs that are expensive to run. Stomach blood flow is stopped, and the blood flows to the thighs, because we need the increase in power and energy to escape if we are in fear and running for our lives.

The problem is how does constant stress effect us? It is stated in this lecture that ulcers in your stomach, ulcers begin to form in your stomach if blood flow does not go there often, due to stress. So if stressed too often, you start getting stomach ulcers

What about arousal?

The autonomic nervous system can cause arousal by turning on the parasympathetic nervous system, e.g. how long one can be aroused. You ve got to be calm in order to get some aroused so the parasympathetic nervous system is used. Eventually when more aroused the sympathetic nervous system is turned on and parasympathetic nervous system is turned off.

What happens if under stress? You cannot become aroused, you accelerate the change from parasympathetic nervous system to sympathetic nervous system, this can cause arousal problems if this happens too much. I must admit it is interesting to see how much stress can cause havoc with your body.

Dr Robert then discusses how REM sleep male can sometimes get aroused, why?

Then he explains how parasympathetic nervous system decreases the effect of an organ. As it acts as an Inibitor.

How do you regulate the system?
how do you regulater the automonic function?

I also liked how Robert talks about how parts of the body play their role when we are injured and loosing a lot of blood.
He looks into how to compensate for blood loss and explains the role of the southern most portions of your brain and how your spinal cord can affect the nervous system.

The hypothalamus is mentioned quite a lot in this course and it is a key part of the description of both nervous system.

This lecture goes on for 44 minutes, which is just a bit longer than your usual lectures from “The Teaching company”. What makes this lecture slightly harder is the content and the speed which Robert Sapolsky speaks, but hey thats ok. If you have missed something, just play it again. Still, let it be known, the course is a little technical, but its worth learning about the body and our behaviour relating to how much the two are intertwined.

Communication Matters II – Gender – Women and Men Talking

Today I decided to pick out a lecture related to communication, but this lecture series on communication has a twist, it seems more psychological. I listened to lecture number 9 out of the course “Communication Matters II: That’s Not What I Meant!” by Professor Deborah Tannen.


Professor Deborah Tannen

Here she concentrates on describing the differences between how men and women communicate, which can often led to clashes.

Prof Deborah raises several examples on how she on What kinds of differences between the ways that men and women use language in their daily lives..

First she looks at how boys and girls communicate when they are with their best friends or when they are playing together. I found this part of the lecture very interesting.

She discusses how girls play when they are with their best friend. She notices that girls tend to choose smaller groups and tend to like to play inside or in close knit quarters. Girls often relate to their best friend by telling them secrets. Girls are very verbal and not other physical, they will sit with their best friend/friends and talk for a long while. Girls also tend to celebrate equality. They like to copy each other’s style.

With boys, this is almost reversed. When boys are with their best friend, they do things together rather than tell each other their secrets. They like to play in larger groups, status and hierarchy is celebrated so boys tend to boost about their abilities even if it seems ridiculous. Deborah also mentions boys celebrate differences e.g. what a particular boy is good at.

What Prof Deborah was interested in is how girls use repetition when it comes to communication and fitting in with friends. If one of the girls mentions that her friend has a bracelet, the other girl in that group would mention that her friend or relative has a bracelet in order to fit in.

I found this section of the course quite interesting.

The second part of this lecture moves on to how men and women often clash when it comes to communication. We hear women tend to engage in problem talk. This means women like to talk about their problems, as with men who tend to want to shut out or disengage from discussing something, especially if they are busy doing something else.


We are given several other examples of how women feel shut out of a conversation when communicating with their male partner. We are shown a good example of when a woman asks her partner how he would feel about having a drink. Obviously the partner replies “No”, but for some reason the woman feels angry and annoyed about this answer.


The clue is perhaps she wants to strike up a conversation about the drink, because women feel that it is easier to relate to someone if they engage in talk or problem talk, while men get the idea that when a woman wants to talk about something, she is looking for a solution. Still, it seems most of the time, this is not always the case.

I found this lecture easy to digest and not too much jargon or lingo. The way deborah speaks about communication issues began to make me panic, because I often see failings in myself when I am talking to the opposite sex. I can often see why my girlfriend gets angry with me, but I do often feel I struggle to respond to her talk and about opening up my feelings.

Check this course out when you get the time, maybe you might get to learn a lot about yourself.