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

Virtual Reality as a Mirror of Depersonalization

By Elena Bezzubova on April 23, 2017 in The Search for Self
Negative mirroring between cyber-generated virtual reality and the psyche-generated virtual unreality, or depersonalization, opens the way to the quest for consciousness and self.

How to Cope With Trump Anxiety

If you’ve been nervous or anxious since the election, you’re not alone.

I Keep Good Stuff, You Hoard Junk: 10 Insights

By Susan K Perry Ph.D. on April 22, 2017 in Creating in Flow
A diversity of odd habits and rituals for quelling anxiety lies along the continuum between normal and diagnosable. You may recognize some of these compulsions.

What Is Happiness Worth to You?

Are you so caught up with chasing goals that you don't have time to appreciate where you are? Does the "happiness finish line" keep moving, leaving you never able to reach it?

The Eve Of Destruction?

By Billi Gordon Ph.D. on April 19, 2017 in Obesely Speaking
The threat of World War III: A call to action

Why Speaking Less is the Secret to Powerful Communication

By Emma M. Seppälä Ph.D. on April 18, 2017 in Feeling It
In our quest to become powerful communicators, we forget about the powerful impact of shutting up and listening.

Religious Conflict Makes Porn Bad for Relationships

By David J Ley Ph.D. on April 17, 2017 in Women Who Stray
A new research study finds more evidence that the alleged harms from porn are actually caused by religious conflict, shame, and the "porn addict" identity.

It Would've Been My Brother's 30th Birthday Today!

Have you lost a significant person in your life? Here, a psychologist shares her personal loss of her brother and the psychological strategies that you too can apply to your grief.

A Time to Decide

By Loren Soeiro, Ph.D. ABPP on April 17, 2017 in I Hear You
For the first time in their lives, today's young adults are making big decisions when there are no do-overs.

Stress Can Lead to Unwanted Consequences

Drug use is surely not the best way to manage stress.

Why Do Some People Deny Climate Change?

By Grant H. Brenner M.D. on April 17, 2017 in ExperiMentations
How can people deny climate change? The evidence is extremely strong, and the danger is clear and present. Research gives clues as to what factors are really at play.
Maxlkt/Pixabay

How Looking At the Facts Reduces Anxiety and Anger

If only we could learn to calm ourselves down instead of looking for others to give us relief. If only we could watch our anxiety without placing it on someone else.

Vehicular Trauma Syndrome

By James F. Zender Ph.D. on April 14, 2017 in The New Normal
A new syndrome related to vehicular trauma is identified.

Hiding in the Basement? Life's Scary But Fear Shouldn't Win

Do you want to be measured by what you avoided in life or by what you embraced?
Flickr

Anxious? The Best Defense Is a Good Offense

By Robert Taibbi L.C.S.W. on April 12, 2017 in Fixing Families
Rather than ducking and weaving, the best way to handle anxiety is to go on the offensive.

3 Reasons Why Couples Have the Same Fights Over and Over

If you’re married, or in a committed relationship, you’ve probably noticed that some of your arguments never seem to get resolved. Rather, they regularly get recycled.
National Center for Education Statistics/U.S. Department of Education. Retrieve from https://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/indicator_cnb.asp

Why Do Students of Color Feel Like an Imposter in School?

Do students of color have perceptions of intelligence? Some thoughts on feeling like an imposter

Listening to Patients

By Robert L. Leahy Ph.D. on April 11, 2017 in Anxiety Files
Listening to a patient is the first step in building trust for someone who may have felt that no one has ever listened and cared about them

9 Ways to Test and Improve Your Emotional Control

One of the key features of human relationships is the ability to regulate your emotional expression. A new tool for measuring 9 emotion regulation methods provides important tips.

8 Ways Your Body Speaks Way Louder Than Your Words

By Emma M. Seppälä Ph.D. on April 11, 2017 in Feeling It
We all face difficult conversations with our spouse, our boss, our employee, our friends. We get so caught up in our words we forget the most important part: our body language.

Problem or Condition?

Psychotherapy and counseling are more effective endeavors when someone is actively engaged in the process, believing that change, where possible, is the objective.

Face-it Versus Escapist Coping Strategies

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on April 10, 2017 in Ambigamy
Do you reduce stress in ways that increase or decrease your peripheral vision?

Why Am I Claustrophobic? What Can I Do About It?

When threatened, escape offers safety. If we learned too well to live in our creative imagination, we find it difficult to escape imaginary fears that cause real feelings.

Learning to Love the Mat

By Reid Wilson Ph.D. on April 10, 2017 in All about Anxiety
You can expect to end up on the mat repeatedly. But the less you worry about being thrown to the mat, the less likely you are to end up there.

Transform Failure, Disaster, and Rejection Into a Fortune!

By Bobby Hoffman Ph.D. on April 10, 2017 in Motivate!
Maybe of us underestimate the power and influence of life's darkest moments. When you learn these simple strategies you will never look at adversity like you have before.

Can Videogames Prevent Elderly Falls?

By Toby Ellmers on April 08, 2017 in Aging Brain, Aging Body
Are videogames the key for preventing falls in the elderly? Research reveals the hidden benefits of gaming.

Secrets to a Less Stressful Life

No matter what it is that’s making each of us anxious, we can all arm ourselves with the tools to help us stay calm, centered, and feeling strong in the face of challenges.

The Inside Story of How Slow Breathing Calms You Down

By Lydia Denworth on April 07, 2017 in Brain Waves
A new study of laid-back mice reveals the connection between slow breathing and tranquility.

Why Asking For Help Is Hard to Do

Find it difficult to ask for help? Employing these strategies will empower you to get the help you may need.
Chalabala / AdobeStock

How to Stop Worrying When Your Thoughts Won’t Cooperate

Underlying feelings that haven’t been processed can create thoughts that fuel worry. When thought-stopping doesn’t work, here’s what to try instead.