What Is Anxiety?

Anxiety, or extreme apprehension and worry, is a normal reaction to stressful situations. But in some cases, it becomes excessive and can cause sufferers to dread everyday situations.

This type of steady, all-over anxiety is called Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Other anxiety-related disorders include panic attacks—severe episodes of anxiety which happen in response to specific triggers—and obsessive-compulsive disorder, which is marked by persistent intrusive thoughts or compulsions to carry out specific behaviors (such as hand-washing).

Anxiety so frequently co-occurs with depression that the two are thought to be twin faces of one disorder. Like depression, it strikes twice as many females as males.

Generally, anxiety arises first, often during childhood. Evidence suggests that both biology and environment can contribute to the disorder. Some people may have a genetic predisposition to anxiety; however, this does not make development of the condition inevitable. Early traumatic experiences can also reset the body’s normal fear-processing system so that it is hyper-reactive to stress.

The exaggerated worries and expectations of negative outcomes in unknown situations that typify anxiety are often accompanied by physical symptoms. These include muscle tension, headaches, stomach cramps, and frequent urination. Behavioral therapies, with or without medication to control symptoms, have proved highly effective against anxiety, especially in children.

Recent posts on Anxiety

7 Ways the Insecure Try to Seem Important

Some people will go through extreme and perhaps ridiculous efforts to seem important. These seven behaviors may be covering up their feelings of loneliness and inferiority.

6 Things That Make Me Truly Grateful This Thanksgiving

My fears and anxieties have taught me that even if they can't be entirely overcome, they can be faced and sometimes outwitted. For that knowledge, I am grateful.

Why has #MeToo Gone Viral?

How and why are the many accusations of sexual assault going viral at this time?

Our Entomophobic Culture

By Jeffrey Lockwood Ph.D. on November 17, 2017 in The Infested Mind
The playfulness of the Itsy Bitsy Spider can’t compete with the image of a frightened Little Miss Muffet. Nursery rhymes and adult stories tell us that insects are terrifying.

Pure Solitude, Away from Devices, Is Calming: New Research

By Bella DePaulo Ph.D. on November 17, 2017 in Living Single
Four new studies show that pure solitude, away from electronic devices, is calming. They also help explain when time alone is and is not experienced as sad, lonely, or boring.

On Dreams and Artistic Ambition

By Ilana Simons Ph.D. on November 16, 2017 in The Literary Mind
We are most creative when we dream. How do we convert that fluidity to waking life?

Wean Your Kids and Yourself Off Fear

By Jenni Ogden Ph.D. on November 16, 2017 in Trouble in Mind
The obsession of iGen teens with safety is one cause of their unhealthy levels of anxiety and there's something adults can do something about.

The Rise of Cyber-Victimization

By Graham C.L. Davey Ph.D. on November 16, 2017 in Why We Worry
Being bullied is a significant risk factor for subsequent social anxiety but bullying is changing. It’s moving from the schoolyard to the Internet.

Do You Know About The "Missed Approach" Procedure?

By Tom Bunn L.C.S.W. on November 15, 2017 in Conquer Fear Of Flying
It's a standard procedure, but since it isn't used often, if you don't know about it, it could really frighten you.

The Hurricane Brain of The Accidentals

By Michael Friedman Ph.D. on November 15, 2017 in Brick by Brick
The truth is that there are no cures—they’re temporary.

Managing Diabetes in Festive Times

Are you worried about managing your Type 2 diabetes as the holidays approach? Are you anxious about going to social gatherings? Talking about your concerns and planning can help.

Wild, Fun-loving, and Free

Childhood anxiety is largely learned, not innate. If we can teach our children to be anxious, it means we can teach them not to be anxious.

How Are We Connected to Our Partner?

Similar attachment styles make for better marriages. Different attachment styles cab cause major problems.

Living With Chronic Pain

By Ana Nogales, Ph.D. on November 13, 2017 in Family Secrets
The more you fight with your pain, the more pain you will have.

Are Racial Microaggressions on College Campuses Harmful?

A new study of college students finds that psychological harm due to racial microaggressions are real and not explained by the personality trait called neuroticism.

Your Primal Wound: What Happened in Childhood?

By Darcia Narvaez Ph.D. on November 12, 2017 in Moral Landscapes
Psychosynthesis considers a human life to move toward self-realization but many get detoured by their primal woundedness. How does that happen?

The Primal Wound: Do You Have One?

By Darcia Narvaez Ph.D. on November 12, 2017 in Moral Landscapes
Is suffering a necessary part of the human condition? To anticipate doom, fear intimacy, or carry a sense of falseness and meaninglessness? No, say the psychosynthesists.

The Struggle to Maintain Basic Humanity

Basic humanity is like a muscle, it gets stronger with exercise.

What's So Hard About Parenting Children With Mental Illness?

What are parents of children with illness most stressed about? A new research study gives us some answers.

Seeking Self-Improvement? Start with IQ...by Ditching It

By Kevin Bennett on November 11, 2017 in Modern Minds
Many established IQ tests are valid, reputable, and trustworthy, but use caution with free internet tests. Either way, how much should you let a single number affect your life?
The Postpartum Stress Center/Karen Kleiman

#SpeaktheSecret

Postpartum women do not talk about how they are really feeling.

American Bigotry: Now It’s Personal

By Rupert W Nacoste Ph.D. on November 09, 2017 in A Quiet Revolution
Today we are seeing the panic that results when a sense of group superiority is no longer supported by legal social structures.

Why Does My Child Hate Math?

By Stuart Shanker Ph.D. on November 09, 2017 in Self-Reg
How can we help a child with a kindled math alarm? How can we prevent this from happening in the first place?

Empowering Your Anxious Tween

Anxiety is a beast that can be contained, if not completely slain.

Aromatherapy Alleviates Anxiety Via Your Vagus Nerve

By Christopher Bergland on November 09, 2017 in The Athlete's Way
There is growing empirical evidence that aromatherapy has a profound ability to relieve anxiety by calming your nervous system.

The Flavors of Everyday Anxiety

The blending of fear with other emotions produces the variety of ways in which anxiety is felt.

Thinking About Switching Careers? Read This First.

Anxious about making a big career change? Here are the do's and dont's!

Phubbing-The #1 Phone Habit to Drop For Better Relationships

By Emma M. Seppälä Ph.D. on November 08, 2017 in Feeling It
Here's what happens to your relationships when you ignore others for your phone.

Avoiding the Comparison Trap

By Atalanta Beaumont on November 08, 2017 in Handy Hints for Humans
How to celebrate the uniqueness of you.
dreamstime

Don’t Let Chronic Pain Throw You into the Future

By Golan Shahar Ph.D. on November 08, 2017 in Stress, Self, and Health
The dangers of pain-based catastrophizing.