is a signal from our minds that something is, or may
be wrong; and we should listen to it just like we do
to any physical signal like pain, hunger, etc.
Under normal conditions it triggers a "fight or
flight" response, and involves feelings of fear,
dread, worry or apprehension.
is a normal part of life. Its a biological function
that serves a purpose.
Anxiety sets off the "fight or flight" response. When
we feel we are in danger we make often unconscious
decisions to run, or to stay at fight. Sometimes the
response is simply to freeze, which is a combination
of anxiety and fear; that is, we experience it as an
inability to make a decision about what we should do.
Anxiety becomes a problem when it won't go away or
comes on in situations that do not appear to be
appropriate; that is, when we are unable to identify
any reason for feeling as though we are in danger.
can be general or specific. For example, some people
become anxious and nervous in social situations. They
feel uncomfortably self-aware, they may experience
physical symptoms such as sweating, and may find
maladaptive ways of dealing with this experience such
as withdrawing or isolating, or using drugs and/or
alcohol to cope. For others anxiety never seems
to go away and is present in a wide range of life's
situations, making finding any common factor
to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH),
over 40 million people over the age of 18 suffer from
some form of anxiety disorder, and that does not
include people who have not been diagnosed, or whose
condition does not fit neatly into a diagnosis.
What are Panic Attacks?
attacks are related to anxiety. They are usually much
more intense but of shorter duration. They often
involve more physical symptoms such as sweating, chest
pains, heart palpitations, feeling as though one is
choking, or "going crazy." Feelings of terror or doom,
as though some feared outcome is about to happen, can
also be part of the picture.
attacks are often sudden and seem to be of unexplained
onset. They have a strong physical component, and can
even be mistaken for medical conditions at first. For
instance, people may fear that they are having a heart
attack or experiencing vertigo rather than connecting
it to the experience of anxiety. The first step in
such cases is to see a physician in order to rule out
a medical cause.
and panic can be debilitating. They get in the way of
quality of life and make people feel as though there
is something wrong with them. It is important to focus
on both coping strategies, such as relaxation and
lifestyle changes. In the longer term it is also
important to understand the source of the feelings.
Both of these areas are ones where a psychotherapist