Anxiety

Overview

What is Anxiety
Types of Anxiety
Symptoms & Characteristics

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is an irrational fear that manifests itself as an intense uneasiness, nervousness, or worry. It is distinguished from fear because fear is defined as a response to a real or perceived threat whereas anxiety is defined by an expectation or assumption of a future threat. Otherwise said, a nonexistent (in reality) or irrational fear.

Anxiety is a perfectly normal part of life. Everybody at sometime or another will experience some form of anxiety. Most often when faced with a stressful situation such as an exam, a deadline at work, or making an important decision.

However, individuals with an anxiety disorder, may feel this much more often. In some cases, it can be felt constantly or get worse over time. Often this interferes with day to day activities like school or work responsibilities or personal relationships. There are, however, many different types of anxiety disorders, and therefore a large variety of ways that anxiety can affect someone.

Types of Anxiety

Anxiety comes in many shapes and forms and is arguably one of the most common disorders in the world due to its broad definition.  It can be broken down into several categories based on the trigger or cause. the most common being anxiety types themselves such as Generalized Anxiety or Social anxiety. Another category would be other disorders with anxiety symptoms, such as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Lastly, we can break anxiety down into the various phobia categories like Agoraphobia (which is by far the most common) or other specific phobias.

Symptoms and Characteristics

Although anxiety has many different variations it tends to present itself in somewhat predictable symptoms, although these absolutely vary per-person. Because it directly related to the fight-or-flight responses it can often present in physical symptoms in addition to mental symptoms.

Difficulty breathing Hyperventilation, Tightness in chest or throat, Shallow breaths
Irregular heart Racing or rapid heartbeat, Heart palpitations, High blood pressure
Digestive issues Nausea or vomiting, Indigestion, Aching stomach
Dissociative symptoms Feeling detached, Feeling as if your surroundings are not real, Dizziness, Sensations of falling
Other Shaking, Sweating, Lightheadedness, Dizziness, Sleeping issues

For panic disorders and panic related symptoms, see Panic Disorders