People With Anxiety, Feelings of Fear or Worry
Everyone has experienced some level of anxiety from time to time, and it is completely normal. It’s your body’s way of preparing for the fight-or-flight response. According to scientists, there was a time in our distant past when we were just as likely to be the prey as we were to be the predator. That may be closer to panic than anxiety but a distinction between anxiety disorders is not always clear-cut. However, when faced with dangerous, fearful situations, the body’s natural reaction is to release chemicals (endorphins) that would give us a burst of speed and strength as needed for defense or escape. Today’s modern anxiety disorder has its roots in this ancient struggle.
While such a response may have been necessary early in our development, the truth is that we’re no longer chased by hostile cavemen or saber-toothed tigers. Yes, we can still face situations where our lives may be in danger; the fight-or-flight fear response makes perfect sense under such conditions. However, we can also reproduce the same response when faced with things that won’t harm us at all. And, that’s what anxiety is.
Most people experience anxiety when flying for the first time, speaking publicly, being fearful of offending others, or even while proposing marriage. Again, having feelings of fear or worry in these situations is normal. People with anxiety disorders are usually more involved in such events. They not only get anxious before events like those mentioned, but they can also have an anxious, intense fear of things that may never even happen. For example, if they are out for a walk, they may worry about getting hit by a car, even though the streets are empty. That may sound extreme to most people, but anyone that suffers from the condition can relate to such a situation.
Anxiety Symptoms Vary Widely
The symptoms of an anxiety disorder are quite varied, and range in their intensity. Here are a few of the more typical symptoms: shortness of breath, heart palpitations, fatigue, headaches, queasy stomach, nausea and pain in the chest, sweating, and feeling shaky. Those symptoms can also be signs of other problems, and that’s one reason why a lot of people don’t know they have anxiety. For example, people may think they ate some bad food or have heartburn when in reality it’s anxiety.
Anxiety is an emotional experience usually treated with medication, therapy, or both. People with mild anxiety may not need any medication at all if they are able to learn techniques for coping with their anxiety. These techniques can include:
- learning how to identify the onset of anxiety
- interrupting the thought process and then
- refocusing those thoughts in a more positive manner.
Medication may be prescribed if therapy will not work on its own or if it’s an extreme case of anxiety. There are several medications available, but it may take some trial and error before the right medication and the right dosage are found
The main thing is to realize that an anxiety disorder is a treatable condition. A distinction between anxiety disorders is simply a matter of receiving the right diagnosis and then finding the treatment options that work best for you.