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 Anxiety Information: Help!

Anxiety Help and Information!

anxiety informationAnxiety is an inevitable part of life in modern day society. While it may seem to usually have a negative connotation, it's always important to understand that there are many situations which come up in everyday life in which it is both appropriate and reasonable to have some level of anxiety. If an individual were anticipating an experience with some level of risk or potential danger, it would be very realistic to feel anxiety or nervousness about the potential harm which could come about. In fact, some of the modern theories of anxiety relate these symptoms to the phenomenon of "fight or flight" which is the psychological and physiological arousal which many refer to as adrenaline, which may have prepared even the earliest man/woman to handle experiences which threatened his/her survival. However, this arousal which may be very uncomfortable may be to such a degree that it limits performance of activities, or even quite disabling for many. Experts have noted that anxiety disorders are distinguished from everyday, normal anxiety in that they involve anxiety that (1) is more intense (for example, panic attacks), (2) lasts longer (anxiety that may persist for months instead of going away after a stressful situation has passed), or (3) leads to phobias that interfere with your life. So, anxiety is a normal, adaptive function of our daily existence, while anxiety disorders may cause enormous distress and/or disability.

An important first step in working with symptoms of anxiety and anxiety disorders is distinguishing between the two. The word anxiety describes a number of problems including phobias (fear of specific things or situations, such as heights, elevators, insect, flying airplanes) panic attacks (intense feelings of

 

anxiety in which people often feel like they are about to go crazy) ,stress disorder (repeated memories of traumatic experiences, accompanied by high levels of distress), obsessive compulsive disorder (ruminating thoughts and repetitive actions to reduce anxiety), and generalized anxiety disorder (a mixture of worries and anxious symptoms experienced most of the time). We also use the word anxiety to describe intermittent feelings of fear or nervousness when we face difficult experiences in our life.

Criteria has been established by the American Psychiatric Association in a diagnostic manual used by mental health clinicians called the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV)(1994).Mental health practitioners usually define anxiety disorders using the DSM-IV to distinguish between the following disorders:

  • Panic Disorders
  • Post- Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Phobias-Social and Specific
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • Acute Stress Disorder
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • Substance-Induced Anxiety Disorder
  • Anxiety Disorder Due to a General Medical Condition

Although they manifest themselves in various forms, anxiety disorders may be distinguished from normal anxiety in terms of intensity, duration and whether they are related to specific circumstances or experiences.

Additional Information and webpage by Paul Susic  MA Licensed Psychologist   Ph.D. Candidate  (Health and Geriatric Psychologist)

Take the following screening to determine if you may have a problem with anxiety.

Anxiety Screening 

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