Anxiety: Anxiety definition
Anxiety Definition:
All about anxiety. What is anxiety. How reduce anxiety

Discover now all about anxiety. Definition of anxiety. What is anxiety.

Definition of anxiety

What is anxiety: Anxiety is a psychological disorder characterized by a persistent and disproportionate fear unrelated to any genuine risk. Apart from very few chemical remedies available like benzodiazepines and serotonin modulators, not much treatment options are at hand that could safely and effectively alleviate anxiety.

Normal anxiety or an anxiety disorder?

Anxiety is hardwired into our brains. It is part of the body’s fight-or-flight response, which prepares us to act quickly in the face of danger. It is a normal response to situations of uncertainty, trouble, or feeling unprepared. However, if common everyday events bring on severe and persistent anxiety or panic that interferes with life, you may have an anxiety disorder.

What's the Difference? Normal Anxiety or Anxiety Disorder

Normal Anxiety
Anxiety Disorder
Occasional worry about circumstantial events, such as an exam or breakup, that may leave you upset
Constant, chronic, and unsubstantiated worry that causes significant distress, disturbs your social life, and interferes with classes and work
Embarrassment or self-consciousness in the face of an uncomfortable social situation
Avoidance of common social situations for fear of being judged, embarrassed, or humiliated
Random cases of “nerves” or jitters, dizziness or sweating over an exam, oral presentation, or other important event
Repeated, random panic attacks or persistent worry and anticipation of another panic attack and feelings of terror or impending doom
Realistic fear of a threatening object, place, or situation
Irrational fear or avoidance of an object, place, or situation that poses little or no threat of danger
Wanting to be sure that you are healthy and living in a safe, hazard free environment
Performing uncontrollable, repetitive actions, such as washing your hands repeatedly or checking things over and over
Anxiety, sadness, or difficulty sleeping immediately following a traumatic event
Ongoing and recurring nightmares, flashbacks, or emotional numbing relating to a traumatic event in your life that occurred several months
or years ago

Types of anxiety

The DSM-IV-TR establishes the classification of anxiety. There are several types of anxiety disorders, and each has its own set of common symptoms:

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

Generalized Anxiety Disorder is characterized by excessive apprehension and worry about everyday life events that is difficult to control. Ongoing feelings of restlessness or feeling keyed up, difficulty concentrating; muscle tension or headache, irritability, and difficulty sleeping are common symptoms of this disorder. People who have GAD often have a persistent, unrealistic fear that something bad is about to happen. About 5% of the population suffers from GAD.

Panic Disorder

Panic Disorder is characterized by sudden, intense episodes of fear and anxiety that occur often and without warning. During a panic attack, physical symptoms such as shortness of breath, racing heart, dizziness, or feeling flushed typically occur. Feelings of unreality and fear of fainting, losing control, or dying are also common during panic episodes. Although panic attacks are not physically harmful in themselves, the experience can be frightening. People who experience panic attacks may become fearful of having more, and may begin to avoid public situations, such as parties, classrooms or social gatherings. College students are in a high risk age group for Panic Disorder, which is most frequently diagnosed during young adulthood.


A phobia is an exaggerated fear of a specific object or situation (e.g. spiders, flying in an airplane, enclosed places, blood, heights, dogs, thunderstorms). A phobia may cause a person to limit oneself unnecessarily because of the anxiety associated with the possibility of encountering what is feared. Phobias often begin in childhood. Although 5-10% of the population have been found to have specific fears severe enough to be classified as phobic, often what is frightening can be avoided without causing significant difficulty in life. However, treatment is recommended if the fear of the object or situation causes frequent distress, or if it leads to significant disruption in routine, activities or relationships.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

The obsessions of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) are persistent thoughts, images or impulses that are distressing. Common examples of obsessive thoughts are doubts about having turned off an electrical appliance or having locked a door, unrealistic fears of germs, or disturbing thoughts of causing harm to a loved one. The compulsions of OCD are characterized by the urgent need todo something to prevent or get rid of the anxiety associated with the obsessive thoughts. Compulsions include behaviors such as hand washing, counting, or having to do things perfectly or in a particular order. Many people have occasional obsessive thoughts or compulsive behaviors. However, people who struggle with this disorder spend over an hour a day consumed with obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors, and these symptoms greatly interfere with daily life.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

PTSD may occur in the wake of a traumatic event, such as a serious accident, sexual or physical assault, or combat in war. Symptoms may include avoidance or distress at reminders of the trauma, recurring images of the event, feeling numb or detached, irritability, being easily startled, and having nightmares or other sleep difficulties. Not everyone who experiences a traumatic event will develop PTSD, and it is common for people to experience some of these symptoms in the weeks following a traumatic event. However, PTSD is diagnosed when the symptoms persist for more than a month after the event, and cause significant distress or impairment in daily life.

Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD)

Social Anxiety Disorder is a marked and persistent fear of social or performance situations in which there is exposure to unfamiliar people or the possibility of judgment by others. These situations are avoided because of the fear of acting in a way that might be humiliating. When the situation cannot be avoided, physical symptoms of anxiety such as trembling, blushing or nausea often occur. Many people experience some degree of nervousness in social settings. However, individuals who struggle with Social Anxiety Disorder severely limit what they do to avoid unfamiliar situations or people, and their anxiety usually does not diminish when actually in the stressful situation.

Anxiety treatments: Medication for anxiety

Medication: Monoamines (dopamine, noradrenaline and serotonin), neuropeptides (galanin, neuropeptide Y, arginine vasopressin, tackykinin and substance P), neurosteroids and cytokines have been observed to play a modulators role in anxiety states. Among therapeutic regimens, benzodiazepines and serotonin modulators remain the mainstay of pharmacological treatment of anxiety disorders. However, in the light of their adverse effects and dependence potential, search for a novel pharmacotherapy from medicinal plants for anxiety is in fast progress.

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