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Last updated:

April 8, 2022


6 months

This course includes:

6 months

Badge on Completion

Certificate of completion

6 months


This advanced-level course, Exploring anxiety, serves as an introduction to masters level study in neurosciences and mental health. Focusing on anxiety, you will consider key issues concerning diagnosis, causes, and interventions.


An overall aim of this free course is for you to develop an understanding of mental health science (focusing on anxiety and depression) from contemporary biological and psychological perspectives. At the Masters level, you will be expected to think critically about issues, models, and frameworks and their application in different contexts, to take a proactive ‘questioning’ approach, to put forward your views, and to argue a case convincingly backed up with evidence that supports your view. These are skills that you will continue to develop if you move on to postgraduate study. But before we broach these topics, it is first worth clarifying some concepts, dispelling some common misconceptions, and to help provide the context to inform your studies. You will learn how to evaluate news items, and to go behind the headlines and begin to explore some of the more contemporary and controversial findings within the field.

Course learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:
  • Understand anxiety from biopsychosocial perspectives
  • Discuss contemporary issues in mental health science related to anxiety
  • Recognize different lines of evidence and appreciate the uncertainty, ambiguity, and limits of current knowledge in the study of mental health science.

Course Curriculum

    • Common misconceptions about mental ill health 01:00:00
    • Different ways of viewing mental distress 00:20:00
    • The biomedical model 00:40:00
    • The biopsychosocial model 00:15:00
    • The concepts of ‘holism’ and ‘reductionism’ 00:15:00
    • Limitations and clinical relevance of the biopsychosocial model 00:10:00
    • Mental health research in the news 00:25:00
    • The Science Media Centre: mental health, research and the media 00:30:00
    • Coverage of mental health and research in the media 00:20:00
    • The importance of establishing the provenance, objectivity and timeliness of information 00:20:00
    • Exploring anxiety part 1 00:40:00
    • The experience of anxiety 00:40:00
    • Key issues in understanding anxiety 00:30:00
    • Understanding diagnosis – key issues 00:30:00
    • PTSD and OCD in DSM-5 00:30:00
    • Criteria that define a ‘mental disorder’ 00:30:00
    • The ‘global burden’ 00:20:00
    • The Research Domain Criteria 00:30:00
    • Reflection 00:20:00
    • Exploring anxiety part 2 00:20:00
    • Symptoms, behaviours and negative thoughts 00:10:00
    • Diagnostic criteria for generalised anxiety disorder and panic disorder 00:20:00
    • Aetiology of anxiety disorders and the basic neural circuitry involved in anxiety 00:10:00
    • Are women more likely to suffer from anxiety disorders than men? 00:10:00
    • Examining the figures from the WHO ‘Global Burden of Disease 2010’ Study 00:10:00
    • Going behind the headline news 00:10:00
    • Is work good or bad for your mental health? 00:10:00
    • Employment can be good for mental health 00:10:00
    • Work can be a cause for stress, anxiety and depression 00:20:00
    • Exploring anxiety part 3 00:10:00
    • Are women more likely to suffer from an anxiety disorder than men? Revisiting the question 00:10:00
    • Is work good or bad for your mental health? Revisiting the question 00:10:00
    • Work, gender and mental health − examining issues further 00:10:00
    • The treatment and management of anxiety disorders – an overview 00:20:00
    • Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) and exposure therapy 00:05:00
    • How does CBT work? What does it involve? 00:30:00
    • Pharmacological therapies 00:20:00
    • Conclusion 00:10:00

About the instructor

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Open University UK