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Inhibitions, Symptoms and Anxiety (The Standard Edition) (Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud) Paperback – September 17, 1990
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Text: English (translation)
Original Language: German
From the Back Cover
Setting forth in rich detail Freud's new theory of anxiety, Inhibitions, Symptoms and Anxiety (1926) is evidence for one of them. In rethinking his earlier work on the subject, Freud saw several types of anxiety at work in the mind and here argues that anxiety causes repression, rather than the other way around.
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Put simply, Freud described anxiety as essentially a glitch in the interaction between the ego (control) and id (animal desires); or a problem with a person's fight-or-flight response. This definition, I believe, has survived somewhat into the present, though Freud's explanation of the cause of the glitch resting primarily in the supression of the libido has probably been somewhat discounted. Remember: Freud's theories were very viable, it was his explanations (based on sexuality) that are brought into question.
The other components of the title, inhibitions and symptoms, can be most simply defined as follows. In the case of inhibitions, those things that prevent the id from experiencing its pleasure successfully (Freud broke the necessity of function down to what he called the Pleasure Principle, or the fact that at root we all seek pleasure to satify our id). And in the case of symptoms, the physical and psychosomatic manifestations of the results of those inhibitions working against the id.
In short, anxiety is the symptomatic result of the problems caused when inhibitions are instituted by the ego in an attempt to control the id.
The take away from this is that, although much of Freud's actual explanations have been revamped and often discarded, his theories, as in the present case of anxiety, are still fascinating and worth a look. If you can get through the couched terminology.