What is Anxiety

This article explores anxiety as a common emotion, delving into its potential transformation into anxiety disorders that affect daily life. It emphasizes the significance of recognizing symptoms, seeking timely treatment, and fostering understanding to support individuals facing anxiety-related challenges.

7/31/20233 min read

woman in gray turtleneck long sleeve shirt
woman in gray turtleneck long sleeve shirt

What Is Anxiety?

Anxiety is a common and frequently gratifying emotion. However, if a person routinely exhibits high worry, it could become a medical issue. Overly high levels of trepidation, fear, apprehension, and worry are symptoms of various mental health illnesses known as anxiety disorders.

Many illnesses cause physical symptoms and alter a person's behavior and emotional processing. While modest anxiety might be uncomfortable and foggy, extreme anxiety can drastically disrupt daily tasks.

There are 40 million persons with anxiety disorders in the US. In the country, it is the subset of mental diseases that is most common. However, only 36.9% of people with anxiety disorders see a therapist.

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), anxiety is "an emotion marked by feelings of tension, anxious thoughts, and bodily changes, including elevated blood pressure." Knowing the difference between ordinary worry and an anxiety disorder requiring medical attention can make identifying and receiving treatment for an anxiety problem simpler.

When Is Anxiety Treatment Necessary?

Even though anxiety can be distressing, it is not always a medical disease. Anxiety is not only ordinary but also necessary for survival when subjected to potentially harmful or upsetting stimuli. Since the beginning, humans have possessed bodily cues that enable them to act evasively when predators or danger are nearby. These warning signals include elevated heart rate, increased sweating, and greater environmental sensitivity.

The adrenaline spike brought on by the threat triggers the "fight-or-flight" response, a hormonal and chemical messenger that the brain creates. People are now physically able to repel or flee any potential threats.

The need to escape from more fantastic creatures and impending danger is less important for many people than it would have been for early humans. The primary sources of anxiety nowadays are worries about one's job, finances, family, health, and other critical situations that demand a person's attention but may not always result in a "fight-or-flight" reaction.

A natural echo of the first "fight-or-flight" response is the unpleasant feeling that precedes a critical life event or that appears amid a trying situation. For instance, when crossing the street, a person scared of being hit by a car may immediately look both ways. It might still be necessary to survive.

Anxiety Conditions

Occasionally, an anxious emotion's strength or length is excessive compared to the stressor that first triggered it. Physical signs like nausea and high blood pressure may also manifest. Anxiety develops into an anxiety disorder as a result of these responses. An individual with an anxiety condition "has repeated intrusive thoughts or concerns," according to the APA. When anxiety is a concern, it might be challenging to carry out routine chores.

Symptoms

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), though many other diagnoses fall under the category of anxiety disorders, is typically defined by the following:

  • Nervousness and a feeling of being "on edge."

  • Persistence of anxiety

  • Having trouble falling or staying asleep at night

  • More irritability

  • Having difficulties concentrating

Even though these signs and symptoms may be typical of daily living, GAD patients will frequently or persistently encounter them. The symptoms of GAD can range from irrational, unsettling worry to crippling anxiety that interferes with daily tasks.

Causes of Anxiety

There are various underlying causes of anxiety disorders. Numerous things can occur at once, some might cause other things to happen, and some might not even cause an anxiety disorder without another.

Possible Explanations Include:

  • Environmental stresses include difficulties at work, poor relationships, or a family member's personal issues.

  • Genetics, as there is a higher chance that you may get an anxiety disorder if a family member does.

  • Medical factors include symptoms of a different illness, medicine side effects, the stress of a challenging surgery, or a drawn-out recovery.

According to psychologists, many anxiety issues are brought on by hormonal and electrical abnormalities in the brain.

Conclusion

Anxiety is a common and typical sensation that people experience as a natural reaction to potential threats and risks. However, excessive and ongoing anxiety can result in various anxiety disorders, regarded as mental health conditions. These illnesses necessitate medical attention and can seriously affect daily life. Even though anxiety disorders are common, it is alarming to learn that many affected people do not seek professional assistance. Effective identification and treatment of anxiety-related issues depend on distinguishing between normal worry and an anxiety disorder. In general, spreading knowledge about anxiety disorders, their signs and symptoms, and the value of getting professional help is crucial for helping the estimated 40 million Americans with anxiety disorders. We can foster a more sympathetic and encouraging environment for those feeling anxiety by fostering understanding and de-stigmatizing mental health disorders, enabling them to live happier and more fruitful lives.