Common Characteristics of Anxiety
Medically, anxiety is defined as a state of apprehension, fear or uneasiness about some impending or expected event. It’s a specific emotional reaction, which might be accompanied by an assortment of physical symptoms, such as difficulty in swallowing, diarrhea, muscle strain or irregular heartbeats.
Stress is one of the most frequent of all emotions. In certain situations such as one involving bodily danger, anxiety is an appropriate response. In others, either the amount of anxiety or the nervous response itself is not warranted by the situation.
Appropriate and Inappropriate Anxiety
Anxiety is a natural response to something that threatens health or well being. Throughout life, the majority of us are exposed to a lot of stressful situations that provoke anxiety. However, if the amount of stress is inappropriate to its origin, is exaggerated beyond reason or is brought on by unlikely events, the response is usually considered abnormal and may require treatment.
Appropriate stress is chiefly characterized by worry. In this situation, the stress serves a practical purpose: It causes enough stress to send you in search of a constructive solution to the problem.
If, however, the dread of job loss is not realistic, then the stress breeds more anxiety. This sort of anxiousness that has no recognizable cause quite often impairs the individual’s ability to function.
The origins of these internal psychological problems are still not entirely understood. On occasion, they may be traced to childhood experiences. This is often true of phobias, like a fear of dogs which can be traced to a childhood dog bite. Another typical example of a phobia is agoraphobia (fear of open spaces), in which anxiety is aroused when a person tries to leave the comfortable setting of the house. Wildlife Control Service Orlando Outside the house–in crowded stores, subways or theaters–stress is heightened; the individual usually hovers near a doorway in order to get away if necessary.
Since the painful anxiety is diminished if fear-producing scenarios are avoided, withdrawal to familiar surroundings is reinforced and, in severe cases, the person may become completely housebound. Certain organic illnesses, such as low blood glucose (hypoglycemia) can also produce feelings of stress. In about half of all cases of clinical stress, however, there’s absolutely no discernible cause.
In most people, anxiety is a temporary feeling. In some, however, anxious feelings and thoughts are almost constantly present in what is known as an anxiety condition. This chronic condition occasionally peaks in a “panic attack,” which can occur with no apparent reason at any time. The physical signs of fear increase to such a frightening extent that the victim may, in reality, think he or she is suffering a heart attack. Hyperventilation, or over-breathing, is common during panic attacks and may lead to light-headedness and even to fainting.
Frequent signs of clinical anxiety include:
Feelings of intense terror
Feelings of impending doom
When someone is anxious, certain body processes accelerate. These are the normal “fight or flight” reactions that help us deal with emergencies. The physical symptoms include breathing irregularities, particularly hyperventilation; muscle strain; sweating, and an increased pulse rate. Any of these symptoms should be reported to a doctor and carefully evaluated.
Treatment of Anxiety
There are a number of approaches to consider in treating anxiety. On occasion, practicing relaxation techniques such as meditation, or taking a warm bath or exercising may help in beating mild anxiety.
Medication may also be recommended to help the patient cope more effectively with stress, particularly the unwarranted anxiety which has no apparent cause. Most commonly, the medication prescribed is one of the tranquilizing drugs. These drugs, like any medication, should be taken only according to your physician’s instructions. They should not be taken in conjunction with alcohol, and your physician should know about any other medicine you may be taking.
Behavior modification therapy, including desensitization, is often helpful in treating phobic anxiety states. By way of instance, an agoraphobic undergoing desensitization will be helped, in a series of graduated steps, to encounter the audiences and public spaces that cause stress. Numerous other treatments, including psychotherapy, are used in treating stress.
However, if these usual means of handling problems do not prove satisfactory, and if anxiety produces undue distress, professional help is a good idea. Bear in mind, nobody is immune from nervousness.
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