Anxiety: Causes and effect pt. 1

Anxiety, stress, fear, phobia, panic, and tension are words that have different technical meanings but often are used interchangeably to describe a common condition that may have reached epidemic proportions.
It appears in all age groups, including the elderly, children, and teenagers.

DEFINITION: Anxiety is an inner feeling of apprehension, uneasiness, worry, and/or dread that is accompanied by a heightened physical arousal.
In times of anxiety, the body appears to be on alert, ready to flee or fight.
The heart beats faster, blood pressure and muscle tensions increase, neurological and chemical changes occur within, and the person may feel faint, jumpy, and unable to relax or sleep.
Anxiety can arise in response to some specific danger often referred to as “fear” rather than anxiety, or it may come in reaction to an imaginary or anxious person senses that something terrible is going to happen, but he or she does not know what it is or why.

Normal anxiety comes to all of us at times, usually when there is some threat or situational danger. Most often, this anxiety is proportional to the danger: the greater the threat, the greater the anxiety, although sometimes, we cannot know how serious a threat may be.
This is anxiety that can be recognized, managed, and reduced, especially when circumstances change and danger is reduced.
Neurotic anxiety involves intense exaggerated feelings of helplessness and dread even when the danger is mild or nonexistent. Many counselors believe this anxiety cannot be faced directly or dealt with rationally because it may arise from inner conflicts that are not conscious.
Moderate anxiety can be healthy and serve a useful purpose. Often it is motivating, helps people avoid dangerous situations, and leads to increased efficiency.

Intense anxiety is more stressful. It can shorten one’s attention span, make concentration difficult, cause forgetting, hinder performance, interfere with problem solving, l=block effective communication, arouse panic, and sometimes cause unpleasant physical symptoms such as paralysis, rapid heartbeat, or intense headaches.

State anxiety comes quickly, may or may not be of high intensity, and has a short duration. This is an acute, relatively brief apprehensive reaction that comes to all of us from time to time. Usually, it is a response to some real or imagined threat, like the inner surge of adrenaline you feel before making a speech or taking an important examination.
Sometimes, the anxiety is accompanied be excitement, in part because anxiety and excitement release the same hormones and turn on the same parts of the nervous system.

Trait anxiety is the persistent, ever present, ingrained emotional tension seen in people who appear to worry all the time. Often this causes physical illness because the body cannot function effectively when it remains in a perpetual state of tension and arousal.

Written by Dr. Godwin Ude

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