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Anxiety - What is it?

Anxiety - What is it?

Anxiety is a common psychological and physiological state that can be characterized by many components. People who are experiencing anxiousness typically experience changes in their emotions, behavior, and cognitive responses. There may also be physical symptoms such as increased heart rate and upset stomach. Feelings of anxiousness are typical responses to stressful situations, but sometimes anxiety becomes excessive to the point where it has a negative impact on the sufferer's life. In this case, it may be classed as an anxiety disorder.


Anxiety disorders affect countless people of all ages and genders. They are often related to situations that are unavoidable, and sufferers feel anxious about a perceived adverse outcome. Anxiety usually develops after traumatic or troubling experiences, but sometimes it seems to have no discernible cause. Unlike normal fear, anxiety can last for years and cause individuals to remain in a tense, anxious state nearly all the time even when there is no real threat. Fear usually occurs as a response to present danger while anxiety focuses on perceived situations and dangers that may not be present.


Many physical and emotional symptoms are typically used to diagnose anxiety disorders. In most cases, the psychological symptoms present first and tend to lead to the physical symptoms. Anxiety impacts the emotions by creating feelings of dread or jumpiness, obsessions, constant fear, and difficulty concentrating. Many people also suffer from nightmares and a sense of being trapped in one's mind. Such emotions and feelings often lead people to think the worst and live in a constant state of perceived danger. Living with insecurity can cause patients to withdraw from situations where intense feelings of anxiousness may occur. The physical effects of anxiety often include panic attacks, fatigue, chest pain, and upset stomach. Over time, the physical effects tend to worsen and can become a part of a cycle that makes anxiety disorders worse.


Anxiety disorders can be treated in numerous ways. The exact method depends upon the severity and cause of anxiousness. Patients often undergo counseling or therapy to understand their anxiety and learn how to cope with it especially when patients experience anxiety as a symptom of another condition like post-traumatic stress disorder. In other cases, it may be treated with prescription medication. Many people who suffer from anxiety disorders are prescribed daily medicines that alter the chemicals in the brain to lessen the patient's symptoms. Some may also be prescribed mild sedatives to suppress acute symptoms and panic attacks. In many cases, patients can beat their anxiety and go on to live healthy lives without additional therapy or medication. Some, however, may require extended treatment to manage their symptoms.