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What is Anxiety?

Discussion in 'Health Care & Wellness' started by Shadowhunter, Apr 1, 2015.

  1. Shadowhunter

    Shadowhunter Active Member

    Nov 10, 2014
    Likes Received:
    Have you ever had sweaty palms before a big test or interview? Maybe you've felt your heart hammering in your chest and swallowed hard after witnessing a near accident? Ever been so stressed out you felt irritable, couldn't concentrate on your task, or felt nauseous? These are all common symptoms of anxiety.


    Although there is a lot of stigma on this topic, we actually need some anxiety in our lives to function properly. Anxiety symptoms are warning signs your body sends to warn you of impending danger, thus enabling you to act accordingly to avoid the threat. How can this be a good thing? Anxiety releases stress hormones such as adrenaline. This can come in pretty handy:
    • If a speeding car is rushing towards you, anxiety alerts your body so that you can get out of the way.
    • If a suspicious car or person is following you, anxiety keeps you on alert and/or pushes you to get an escort.
    • If you're nervous about a test or interview, anxiety can make you study harder or be more prepared beforehand.

    Normal Anxiety vs. Anxiety Disorders

    In small doses for relevant situations, anxiety is normal and healthy. When anxiety is chronic, interferes with your daily life, and causes you to think and act irrationally, it may be time to ask your health practitioner about anxiety disorders.


    Anxiety disorders are the most common psychiatric illnesses affecting children and adults today. Less than half of all people suffering from an anxiety disorder seek help, though anxiety can be treated effectively through therapy, medication, and/or lifestyle and diet changes.

    Examples of Anxiety Disorders

    Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD): Persistent, excessive, long-lasting worry about everyday things without being able to pinpoint a specific reason for concern and/or control the worry. Sufferers may fear the worst and anticipate disaster with regards to school, work, social activities, relationships, health, and other issues. In severe cases, many people can experience debilitating difficulty with everyday tasks and/or thoughts about getting through the day.

    Panic Disorder: Sudden, unexpected, repeated panic attacks and persistent fear of and worry about recurring attacks in between. Symptoms of a panic attack include a pounding or racing heartbeat; feeling dizzy, weak, lightheaded or faint; shortness of breath or feeling of smothering; palpitations; nausea or abdominal distress; trembling or shaking; chest pain or discomfort; feelings of being detached from reality or oneself; fear of losing control, going crazy, or dying; numbness or tingling sensations; and/or cold chills or hot flashes. Panic attacks may peak over a ten minute period but can sometimes last for hours afterwards. Many sufferers are often admitted to the hospital as their symptoms are mistaken for other problems, such as heart attacks, and may feel similar as well.

    Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: Recurrent, intrusive, unwanted, disturbing thoughts (obsessions) that lead to repetitive, ritualized actions the sufferer feels compelled to perform (compulsions) to ease feelings of anxiety often resulting from the obsessions. Although OCD is stereotypically thought to be defined by having both obsessions and compulsions, some can have OCD with only obsessions or only compulsions. Sufferers acknowledge that their thoughts or behaviors are excessive or senseless, but continue caving to them anyway even though it disrupts their daily lives and they find it distressing. Common obsessions can include fear of contamination, unwanted acts of aggression, unacceptable sexual or religious thoughts, and the need for symmetry or exactness. Common compulsions can include excessive cleaning, checking and arranging rituals, counting, unnecessarily repetitive routine activities, hoarding, and mental rituals such as mental recitations.

    Social Anxiety Disorder (Social Phobia): A significant and persistent fear of performance or one or more social situations in which the person is exposed to unfamiliar people or possible scrutiny by others that leads to avoidance of places and social situations to alleviate feelings of anxiety, disrupting the sufferer's daily life. Social situations and ventures usually include planning ahead with great detail and overwhelming anxiety as well as anxious thoughts afterwards. The person recognizes that this fear is excessive or unreasonable but continues distressing themselves with debilitating thoughts of anxiety and/or goes out of their way to avoid the social situation(s) altogether.

    Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): Potentially debilitating reactions that occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a natural disaster, accident, terrorist incident, death of a loved one, war, or violent personal assault such as rape, kidnapping, abuse, and robbery or other traumatic, tragic, or terrifying events. Symptoms include flashbacks in the form of disturbing recollections during the day and/or nightmares of the experience, which can often be quite livid and easily triggered. For some, the symptoms can take months to show up and in some cases, people may go weeks or months in between symptoms then suddenly experience them daily without reason. Sufferers may also feel detached or numb, or be easily startled, and feel irritable, more aggressive than before, or even violent. Seeing things that remind them of the incident may be very distressing, which could lead them to avoid certain places or situations that bring back those memories. Anniversaries of the event are often very difficult.

    Phobias: Persistent, irrational, exaggerated fears of certain objects or situations that disrupt someone's everyday activities. Many sufferers are so overwhelmed by their fears and feelings of anxiety that they avoid certain settings or situations completely. Examples include people with Triskaidekaphobia refusing to enter a building with a thirteenth floor or people with Arachnophobia fleeing a room at a picture of a spider or avoiding settings that may involve spiders.

    What Do You Do?

    If you or someone you know suffers from an anxiety disorder, your doctor can help you effectively treat it through therapy, medication, and/or lifestyle and diet changes.

    What To Look Out For:


    Persistently experiencing a number of the following symptoms for 6 months, especially if it disrupts your life, could be an indication of an anxiety disorder.

    Emotional Symptoms

    • Feelings of apprehension or dread
    • Trouble concentrating
    • Feeling tense and jumpy
    • Anticipating the worst
    • Irritability
    • Restlessness
    • Watching for signs of danger
    • Feeling like your mind?s gone blank
    • Easily tired

    Physical Symptoms

    • Pounding heart
    • Stomach upset, nausea, or dizziness
    • Frequent urination or diarrhea
    • Shortness of breath
    • Tremors and twitches
    • Headaches
    • Fatigue
    • Insomnia
    • Trembling
    • Backache
    • Heart palpitations
    • Numbness or "pins and needles" in arms, hands or legs
    • Sweating/flushing
    • Muscle tension
    • Trouble falling or staying asleep
    • Being easily startled

    Symptoms of Anxiety Attacks

    • Surge of overwhelming panic
    • Feeling of losing control or going crazy
    • Heart palpitations or chest pain
    • Feeling like you?re going to pass out
    • Trouble breathing or choking sensation
    • Hyperventilation
    • Hot flashes or chills
    • Trembling or shaking
    • Nausea or stomach cramps
    • Feeling detached or unreal

    Coping With Everyday Anxiety








  3. nirtime

    nirtime Active Member

    Nov 13, 2014
    Likes Received:
    So happy to see this post! Really helpful and it shows you spent a lot of time to create it!
  4. LadyDeath

    LadyDeath Senior Marketing Officer
    Staff Member

    Jun 9, 2008
    Likes Received:
    Oh myy ! Thank you shadow for posting this excellent helpful topic about anxiety.

    Everyone has anxiety or become anxious at some point of their lives. But some people are more anxious in certain situations than others and experience it very very often, actually daily. Sometimes your subconscious mind studies things that are you are not even worrying about and you begin to feel the symtoms of anxiety. Coping with it is also hard as well. My advice is to take everyday one step at a time. It is very hard, but studies show that a long period of anxiety can cause nerve/heart problems in the future
  5. Shadowhunter

    Shadowhunter Active Member

    Nov 10, 2014
    Likes Received:
    I hope the information here can prove to be worthwhile. LadyDeath is right, anxiety can lead to other health issues. Sometimes anxiety develops as a result of other issues (eg. developing anxiety while worrying about recurring diseases or undiagnosed symptoms) and sometimes anxiety itself leads to other issues (eg. anxiety symptoms leading to clinical depression and stomach problems). It's always best to seek advice from a health care professional to decrease the chances of greater negative impacts sooner rather than later.

    Sometimes other issues mimic anxiety as well such as side effects from certain medications, hormonal issues, tumors, nutritional deficiencies, nervous system issues, etc. Your doctor can work with you to safely eliminate other possibilities and identify underlying problems.
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