What is Anxiety? Anxiety is one of the most fundamental emotions shared by all species of animals. When confronted with danger, the fight or flight response of the sympathetic nervous system Is triggered so that we are prepared to react and protect ourselves. Without anxiety and Its physiological manifestations, such as hypersensitivity to environment and enhanced blood supply to leg muscles, the likelihood of harm or disaster In threatening situations would undoubtedly dramatically increase.
A moderate amount of anxiety also has the result of prompting individuals to prepare for certain events, uch as exams and presentations, that clearly benefit from this action. Anxiety is a normal human emotion that everyone experiences at times. Many people feel anxious, or nervous, when faced with a problem at work, before taking a test, or making an important decision. Anxiety disorders, however, are different. They can cause such distress that It interferes with a person’s ability to lead a normal life.
An anxiety disorder is a serious mental illness. For people with anxiety disorders, worry and fear are constant and overwhelming, and can be crippling. Anxiety Is an npleasant state of Inner turmoil, often accompanied by nervous behavior, such as pacing back and forth, somatic complaints and ruminatlon.  It Is the subjectively unpleasant feelings of dread over something unlikely to happen, such as the feeling of imminent death. 3] Anxiety is not the same as fear, which is felt about something realistically intimidating or dangerous and is an appropriate response to a perceived threat; anxiety is a feeling of fear, worry, and uneasiness, usually generalized and unfocused as an overreaction to a situation that is only subjectively seen as enacing.  It is often accompanied by restlessness, fatigue, problems in concentration, and muscular tension. Anxiety is not considered to be a normal reaction to a perceived stressor although many feel it occasionally.
Anxiety is a normal reaction to stress and can actually be beneficial In some situations. For some people, however, anxiety can become excessive. While the person suffering may realize their anxiety Is too much, they may also have difficulty controlling It and It may negatively affect their day-to-day living. There are a wide variety of anxiety disorders, ncluding post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and panic disorder to name a few. Collectively, they are among the most common mental disorders experienced by Americans.
Anxiety is the bodys natural response to danger, an automatic alarm that goes off when you feel threatened, under pressure, or are facing a stressful situation. In moderation, anxiety isn’t always a bad thing. In fact, anxiety can help you stay alert and focused, spur you to action, and motivate you to solve problems. But when anxiety is constant or overwhelming, when it interferes ith your relationships and activities, it stops being functional”that’s when youVe crossed the line from normal, productive anxiety into the territory of anxiety disorders.
Panic disorder is a type of anxiety disorder characterized by “brief episodes of intense fear accompanied by multiple physical symptoms (such as heart palpitations and dizziness) that occur repeatedly and unexpectedly in the absence of any external threat. ” Unlike fear, there is seemingly no reason or input that causes such an episode. It feels almost like an internal earthquake, something over which you have o warning and feel no control, an event that destabilizes the foundation of what you consider within the borders of normal expectation.
After an initial panic attack, individuals often become incredibly fearful about the possibility of another attack. The degree to which this affects subsequent behavior and lifestyle can be extremely drastic and potentially debilitating. Whether it is a daily transformation or a more anxious reaction to the next time one feels dizzy, panic attacks have a lasting impact on the thoughts and actions of the individuals who experience them. There are everal recognized types of anxiety disorders, including: Panic disorder: People with this condition have feelings of terror that strike suddenly and repeatedly with no warning.
Other symptoms of a panic attack include sweating, chest pain, palpitations (irregular heartbeats), and a feeling of choking, which may make the person feel like he or she is having a heart attack or “going crazy. ” Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD): People with OCD are plagued by constant thoughts or fears that cause them to perform certain rituals or routines. The disturbing thoughts are called obsessions, nd the rituals are called compulsions. An example is a person with an unreasonable fear of germs who constantly washes his or her hands.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): PTSD is a condition that can develop following a traumatic and/or terrifying event, such as a sexual or physical assault, the unexpected death of a loved one, or a natural disaster. People with PTSD often have lasting and frightening thoughts and memories of the event and tend to be emotionally numb. Social anxiety disorder: Also called social phobia, social anxiety disorder involves overwhelming worry and self- onsciousness about everyday social situations. The worry often centers on a fear of being Judged by others, or behaving in a way that might cause embarrassment or lead to ridicule.
Specific phobias: A specific phobia is an intense fear of a specific object or situation, such as snakes, heights, or flying. The level of fear is usually inappropriate to the situation and may cause the person to avoid common, everyday situations. Generalized anxiety disorder: This disorder involves excessive, unrealistic worry and tension, even if there is little or nothing to provoke the anxiety. generalized nxiety disorder (GAD) Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is a mood disorder that is characterized by multiple and/or nonspecific worries.
The fear associated with GAD interferes with the person’s ability to sleep, think, or function in some other way. Symptoms of anxiety are even described in the word itself. Specifically, the word anxiety comes from the Latin word anxietas, which means to choke or upset. The symptoms therefore include emotional or behavioral symptoms as well as ways of thinking that are responses to feeling as if one is in danger. obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), anic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and social phobia (or social anxiety disorder). rofile: generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder (anxiety attacks), phobia, post-traumatic stress disorder, and social anxiety disorder. Helpguide. org offers an entire article on each type of anxiety disorder. See related articles section below for more information. Generalized anxiety disorder If constant worries and fears distract you from your day-to-day activities or you’re troubled by a persistent feeling that something bad is going to happen, you may be uffering from generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).
People with GAD are chronic worrywarts who feel anxious nearly all of the time, though they may not even know why. Anxiety related to GAD often shows up as physical symptoms like insomnia, stomach upset, restlessness, and fatigue. Anxiety attacks (Panic disorder) Panic disorder is characterized by repeated, unexpected panic attacks, as well as fear of experiencing another episode. Panic disorder may also be accompanied by agoraphobia, which is a fear of being in places where escape or help would be difficult in the event of a panic attack.
If you have agoraphobia, you are likely to avoid public places such as shopping malls or confined spaces such as an airplane. Obsessive-compulsive disorder Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is characterized by unwanted thoughts or behaviors that seem impossible to stop or control. If you have OCD, you may be troubled by obsessions, such as a recurring worry that you forgot to turn off the oven or that you might hurt someone. You may also suffer from uncontrollable compulsions, such as washing your hands over and over.
Phobia A phobia is an unrealistic or exaggerated fear of a specific object, activity, or situation hat in reality presents little to no danger. Common phobias include fear of animals such as snakes and spiders, fear of flying, and fear of heights. In the case of a severe phobia, you might go to extreme lengths to avoid the thing you fear. Unfortunately, avoidance only strengthens the phobia. Social anxiety disorder If you have a debilitating fear of being seen negatively by others and humiliated in public, you may have social anxiety disorder, also known as social phobia. Social anxiety disorder can be thought of as extreme shyness.
In severe cases, social ituations are avoided altogether. Performance anxiety (better known as stage fright) is the most common type of social phobia. Post-traumatic stress disorder Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an extreme anxiety disorder that can occur in the aftermath of a traumatic or life-threatening event. PTSD can be thought of as a panic attack that rarely, if ever, lets up. Symptoms of PTSD include flashbacks or nightmares about what happened, hypervigilance, startling easily, withdrawing from others, and avoiding situations that remind you of the event.
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