What Is Anxiety?

Anxiety 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

You Have Power Over Your Brain Chemistry

Your brain has an operating system inherited from earlier animals. It rewards you with "happy chemicals" when you step toward meeting needs and alarms you with "unhappy chemicals.

The Happiness Myth

By Atalanta Beaumont on October 20, 2016 in Handy Hints for Humans
The achievement of happiness is a myth

Kids Who Cut

American youth are stressed. Non-suicidal self-injury is one response to stress that’s common among adolescents and young adults. To prepare adults, training programs are emerging.

How to Tell if You Should Avoid Contact With Your Ex

If you and your ex cannot or do not intend to treat each other like true friends, then needless to say, it is best to end all contact ASAP.

Psychological and Emotional Aspects of Skin Conditions

If you are anything like most people that suffer from skin problems, you will notice that your skin is often on your mind.

The Secret to Achieving Your Dreams No One Tells You About

By Emma M. Seppälä Ph.D. on October 19, 2016 in Feeling It
You're more likely to achieve your dreams if you are happy, here's why.
Courtesy J Middleton

A Secret Worth Sharing

By Lybi Ma on October 19, 2016 in Brainstorm
Guest post by Jacquelyn Middleton

The Bizarre Outbreak of Hallucinations in Oregon

By Robert Bartholomew Ph.D. on October 19, 2016 in It's Catching
A mysterious outbreak of hallucinations has U.S. authorities baffled.

Groundbreaking Study Roots Out Signs of Depression in Brain

By Christopher Bergland on October 18, 2016 in The Athlete's Way
This pioneering discovery could lead to more effective treatments for depression.

The Social Contagion of Psycho Clowns

By Kevin Bennett on October 17, 2016 in Modern Minds
Should you be taking "clown craze 2016" seriously? Social panic sets in as clowns run wild. Real or imagined?

Mastering Your Emotions

By L. Kevin Chapman Ph.D. on October 17, 2016 in Evidence Based
The "how to" guide of mastering all of your emotions

When the Perks of Love Interfere With Love

It is sometimes the case that the gifts of love become more important (and are certainly more safe from the risks and anxieties of love) than love itself.

Claustrophobia: Cause and Cure

By Tom Bunn L.C.S.W. on October 16, 2016 in Conquer Fear Of Flying
On top of a building, the most direct escape is to jump, a thought that can trigger panic and make stairs and elevators seem impossible to navigate. The answer: alarm attenuation

Please Keep Your Emotional Support Iguana Off My Couch

By David J Ley Ph.D. on October 15, 2016 in Women Who Stray
Emotional support animals offer valuable assistance. But sometimes, therapists need to focus on helping people develop alternative strategies of soothing and anxiety-reduction.

Clown Scare to Grow Violent, then Subside after Halloween

By Robert Bartholomew Ph.D. on October 15, 2016 in It's Catching
It's likely to get worse before it gets better.

When the Referral Question Is "Depression and Anxiety"

By Gregg Henriques Ph.D. on October 14, 2016 in Theory of Knowledge
How should we think about a referral for help with "depression and anxiety"?

Why Clowns Creep Us Out

By Frank T. McAndrew Ph.D. on October 14, 2016 in Out of the Ooze
Clowns are mischievous and unpredictable, and they have an association with serial killers in real life and in the movies. In other words, clowns are designed to creep us out.

Understanding and Treating Selective Mutism

By Barbara Markway Ph.D. on October 13, 2016 in Shyness Is Nice
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Are Stress and Obesity Related?

By Romeo Vitelli Ph.D. on October 12, 2016 in Media Spotlight
Though the main causes of obesity are high food intake, lack of adequate exercise, and genetic susceptibility, researchers have long suspected that stress may play a role as well.

New Study Finds Yoga Breathing Lowers Inflammation

By Marlynn Wei M.D., J.D. on October 10, 2016 in Urban Survival
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The Art of the Email Letter

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By Marc Wittmann Ph.D. on October 09, 2016 in Sense of Time
A novel scientific perspective on happiness and a potential to treat mental disorders.

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Your 9 Top Defense Mechanisms, Revisited

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Post Traumatic Growth

Those of us who struggle with trauma, find that rising to the challenge reveals our hidden abilities that were formerly untapped.

The Great Clown Scare of 2016

By Robert Bartholomew Ph.D. on October 07, 2016 in It's Catching
Have no fear—The Great Clown Panic will soon be history

5 Reasons We Worry, and 5 Ways to Worry Less

By Seth J. Gillihan Ph.D. on October 07, 2016 in Think, Act, Be
It's hard to stop excessive worry, in part because we believe we should worry. Find out why we worry, and how to worry less.

How Your Regrets Can Actually Help You

Today in America the dominant opinion on regret is to get over it, let it go, or—if you’re a New Yorker—“fuhgeddaboudit!” In her TED Talk on the subject, Kathryn Schulz notes . . .

8 Postpartum Depression Symptoms You Need to Know

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