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 invasive 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're Awake but You Can't Move

By Michael J Breus Ph.D. on April 23, 2015 in Sleep Newzzz
If you experience sleep paralysis, don't panic, because it's a temporary and harmless condition that will soon pass.

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People are prone to believe what they want to believe.

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How do you perform under pressure? Your pressure style might be holding you back or downgrading your results.

My Son Is Afraid of the Uncanny Valley

By Thomas Hills Ph.D. on April 22, 2015 in Statistical Life
Isn't it a moral violation that images we would never choose to look at pop up on our computers—AND INTO OUR HEADS—without our permission? I'm all for free speech (and images). But really, shouldn't we be able to not look?

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This post includes a "Top Ten" list of ways that mindfulness and meditation promote well-being based on the latest scientific research.

5 Ways to Stop Anxiety Before It Stops You

Are anxiety and excessive caution getting in your way and stopping you from living a more meaningful and fulfilling life. Avoidance feeds on itself and makes you less confident, while getting started and taking action creates a positive cycle that naturally helps your anxiety go down. Learn five effective ways to get a handle on anxiety so you can move forward.

PTSD and Panic Disorder, the Huge Difference

By Hal Mathew on April 21, 2015 in Unagoraphobic
Eternal vigilance is the price of PTSD and panic disorder

A Betrayal Anxiety Quiz for Women in an Unequal Workplace

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I'm Having An Impossible Time With A Break-Up

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All of us encounter experiences in life when we may be temporally overwhelmed by a negative emotion, be it anger, pressure, nervousness, despair, or confusion. In these situations, how we choose to “master the moment” can make the difference between proactive versus reactive, and confidence versus insecurity. Here are ten ways to be less reactive in difficult situations...

Helping Veterans with PTSD Using Yoga

Not only should the VA continue with pilot studies of holistic therapies, but evidence should be taken from related fields, such as addiction treatment, where these therapies have been used for years with great success.

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What Causes You Inner Turmoil?

Being in heated conflict not with others but with yourself can—let’s face it—be agonizing. To be split down the middle, to endlessly waver between two (and sometimes more) options, can at its worst be almost unimaginably distressing. Obsessive to an extreme, it can lead to a paralysis of will (not to mention, much lost sleep). . . .

6 Tips for Managing Life With a Control Freak

By Robert Taibbi L.C.S.W. on April 17, 2015 in Fixing Families
It's difficult to live with someone who is always controlling in a variety of ways. Some tips for not taking it personally and for changing the dynamics.

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By Anneli Rufus on April 17, 2015 in Stuck
He's photographed Brad Pitt, Naomi Watts and other superstars, but his early work as a war-zone photojournalist left Greg Williams with PTSD.

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Getting Existential with Josh Rouse

By Michael Friedman Ph.D. on April 17, 2015 in Brick by Brick
Josh Rouse shares how he has been able to conquer anxiety through mindfulness.

Cyberbullying? There’s an App for That

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Sometimes it is impossible to let go of grief. When you continue to grieve a loss, your condition is called complicated grief. Complicated grief is so severe that psychiatrists now consider it for inclusion in the psychiatric manual for diagnosing mental disorders. Here is how to tell if you suffer from complicated grief.

Body Punishment

By The Book Brigade on April 16, 2015 in The Author Speaks
Obsessive-compulsive disorder takes many forms, but all of them involve repetitive behaviors that often create vicious cycles of anxiety and shame. Maggie Lamond Simone punished herself to maintain a public face—until the same disorder was diagnosed in her child. Only then did the healing begin.

Are Your Worst Nightmares Also Everyone Else's?

By E E Smith on April 16, 2015 in Not Born Yesterday
They are the grim subject of several centuries-old paintings, in which a black horse (or "night mare") hovers near a sleeping figure. They have been the terrifying theme of movies, past and present––from "I Wake Up Screaming" (1941), to the latest "Nightmare on Elm Street" flick. So, what exactly is a nightmare?

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The Fighter Weapons School is the Air Force equivalent to the Navy's "Top Gun," of movie fame. A statement posted by one of the instructors on the bulletin board recommended against hypervigilance.

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Negative affect is among the most important triggers of self-control failures.

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There is an "in spite of" quality to pursuing what is most important in life.