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

City Life and Mental Illness

Does the impact of living in disadvantaged neighborhoods last forever?

How Healthy Are You? Take this 10 Second Quiz

A quiz that leads you to 10 steps to better health

How Depression Can Move On

The new coming out is coming out about struggles with depression. Here, Judy realizes that depression can lead to empathy, past trauma, & even make you funnier.. Read on

Get a Grip on Guilt in Three Simple Steps

Guilt is natural because your brain is designed to scan for threats, and social threats are survival threats to the brain we’ve inherited from earlier mammals.

More Than ‘Man’s Best Friend’

It is true that dogs play a major role in society; from their formal professions as work dogs to their important roles as companions, dogs touch and help many lives.

Imagine Me Gone

Despite popular myths about seasonality of suicides, rates actually spike in late spring and early summer rather than during the holidays or in the depths of winter.

Time to Stop Panicking!

By Peter Edelstein M.D. on May 22, 2016 in Patient Power
Millions suffer from sudden, disabling panic attacks. These terrifying episodes can ruin lives. But now a safe, powerful new treatment works by focusing on...breathing.

Soft-Serve Psychology

Beyond physics and envy: why it is so hard to work in a soft science.

The Suppression of Individual Liberty

Humans are the only animals with free will. With freedom comes responsibility and despite so much perceived “freedom,” many are unhappy. Loss of individual liberty may be to blame

An Anxiety Checklist

How does anxiety affect you?

EgyptAir: Now What?

The cause will not be officially determined for some time. But no airliner has come apart in mid-air due to technical failure in more than sixty years.

The Myth of Being Unlovable, Part 1

When we are feeling unloved, our mind makes up a story about how unlovable we are, filling in details about our supposed faults.
Shutterstock

Mastering Life's Transitions

Transitions from one chapter of our lives to the next can be a challenge. The key is to step back, think big picture, move forward, and have realistic expectations. Some tips.

6 Quick Ways to Ease Your Social Anxiety

The good news? Social anxiety is changeable. With time, practice, and a willingness to push yourself, you can achieve the ultimate: being comfortable in your own skin.

15-Min Online Training Sessions That Could Be Life Changing

An easier, quicker and potentially more efficient way of changing behaviour could revolutionise therapy in years to come.

Amazing New Concepts About Our Brain From 13 Brain Experts

What to learn more about what makes us, us?
fotolia, used with permission

The Emotional Pain of Holding on to Yesterday

By Allison Carmen on May 18, 2016 in The Gift of Maybe
Three easy steps to begin letting go of our emotional pain caused by holding on to the past. Today has its own gifts if we are willing to be present.

7 Ways to Tell if Your Relationship Is Just Right for You

Relationships are complicated, but some signs suggest they're headed in the right (or wrong!) direction.

Early Adolescence, Loss of Confidence, and Fears of Trying

Confidence motivates trying. Most early adolescents leave some confidence behind when they separate from childhood, and now they have some building back up of themselves to do.
hyperionpixels/BigStock

The Power of Positive Self-Talk

One of the ways to recognize, promote, and sustain optimism, hope, and joy is to intentionally fill our thoughts with positive self-talk.

Do We Have Any Control Over Depression?

In Part 3 of this epic downer of a comic dealing with a depression that makes Kafka look cheery, we find out if one can control depression by doing good deeds. Read on...

Stressed Out? Try Looking at Some Trees

When you’re feeling frazzled you might reach for a Xanax. Or a drink. Or you can take advantage of a natural and cost–free remedy: looking at trees. But why does it work?
stevebustin, flickr

Are You a Worrier? Three Tips to Worry Less

Are you a “worrier”? Have you found some good strategies to manage your worrying?

5 Steps for a Better Sex Life

By Lisa Thomas LMFT on May 15, 2016 in Save Your Sex Life
Is having a more satisfying sex life something you desire? Then read these 5 tips for how to get started, tonight!

The Effort to Rid TV of Pharma Ads

By Christopher Lane Ph.D. on May 15, 2016 in Side Effects
The average American TV viewer is exposed to up to 30 hours of prescription drug ads each year. Enough already.

5 Tips to Instantly Reduce Your Anxiety

Most of us experience anxiousness from time to time. Here are five quick countermeasures you can deploy to instantly reduce anxiety...

A New Study Reveals Our Deepest Sexual Insecurities

Google searches of sex subjects reveal the depth of men's and women's sexual insecurities.

Moby and Existentialism: It's All in the Family

For Moby, acceptance of the absurdity of life is what helps him to recognize that he may never fully understand certain ontological questions regarding the nature of our existence.

Margaret Cho Wants You to Embrace Your Darkness

There would be no contrast in your existence if the bad and dark parts didn’t exist.

What to Do About Math Anxiety?

By Garth Sundem on May 11, 2016 in Brain Trust
Your brain and surroundings can both cause and cure math anxiety.