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Anxiety

Anxiety Overview: – Anxiety vs. fear distinction: Anxiety involves inner turmoil over anticipated events, while fear is a response to present threats. – Characteristics: Anxiety […]

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Anxiety Overview:
– Anxiety vs. fear distinction: Anxiety involves inner turmoil over anticipated events, while fear is a response to present threats.
– Characteristics: Anxiety leads to nervous behavior, uneasiness, and worry.
– Symptoms: Manifests as chronic or acute, impacting mental, behavioral, emotional, and cognitive aspects.
– Types: Existential, mathematical, somatic, and social anxiety.
– Impact: Significant effects on daily life, mental health, and physiological systems.

Anxiety in Different Contexts:
– Test, Performance, and Competitive Anxiety: Affects performance in tasks like exams, with symptoms of uneasiness and fear of failure.
– Stranger, Social, and Intergroup Anxiety: Stemming from fear of judgment, affecting social interactions and intergroup dynamics.
– Trait Anxiety: Long-term personality trait with stable tendencies towards acute anxiety.
– Choice or Decision Anxiety: Arises from decision-making dilemmas and uncertainties, impacting emotional responses and choices.

Specific Anxiety Disorders:
– Panic Disorder: Involves unexpected and intense fear episodes, affecting daily functioning.
– Anxiety Disorders: Characterized by exaggerated anxiety and fear responses, affecting about 12% of people annually.
– Co-morbidity: Commonly co-occur with other mental health disorders like major depressive disorder.
– Risk Factors: Genetic influence, environmental factors, and neuroanatomy play roles in anxiety development.

Biological and Genetic Factors:
– Genetics: Family history and genetic influences increase the risk of anxiety disorders.
– Gut-brain axis: Gut microbes affect anxiety by producing neurotransmitters, with prebiotics and probiotics showing anxiety-reducing effects.
– Neural Circuits and Reward: Anxious individuals show heightened neural responses in fear and reward circuits.
– Epigenetics: Studies explore gene-environment interactions in anxiety disorders, with genes like BDNF and NTRK2 linked to anxiety.

Treatment and Potential Interventions:
– Treatment Potential: Gut-brain communication offers avenues for anxiety treatment, with prebiotics and probiotics showing promise.
– HPA Axis: Regulates cortisol levels to process and reduce anxiety.
– Altering Microbiome: Can have anxiety- and depression-reducing effects by controlling cytokine levels.
– Brain-based Processes: Activate defensive survival circuits in response to threats, inducing anxiety.

Anxiety (Wikipedia)

Anxiety is an emotion which is characterised by an unpleasant state of inner turmoil and includes feelings of dread over anticipated events. Anxiety is different from fear in that fear is defined as the emotional response to a present threat, whereas anxiety is the anticipation of a future one. It is often accompanied by nervous behavior such as pacing back and forth, somatic complaints, and rumination.

A job applicant with a facial expression indicative of anxiety
AnxietyArousalFlow (psychology)WorryControl (psychology)ApathyBoredomRelaxation (psychology)
Mental state in terms of challenge level and skill level, according to Csikszentmihalyi's flow model. (Click on a fragment of the image to go to the appropriate article)

Anxiety is a feeling of uneasiness and worry, usually generalized and unfocused as an overreaction to a situation that is only subjectively seen as menacing. It is often accompanied by muscular tension, restlessness, fatigue, inability to catch one's breath, tightness in the abdominal region, nausea, and problems in concentration. Anxiety is closely related to fear, which is a response to a real or perceived immediate threat (fight-or-flight response); anxiety involves the expectation of a future threat including dread. People facing anxiety may withdraw from situations which have provoked anxiety in the past.

The emotion of anxiety can persist beyond the developmentally appropriate time-periods in response to specific events, and thus turning into one of the multiple anxiety disorders (e.g. generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder). The difference between anxiety disorder (as mental disorder) and anxiety (as normal emotion), is that people with an anxiety disorder experience anxiety most of the days during approximately 6 months, or even during shorter time-periods in children. Anxiety disorders are among the most persistent mental problems and often last decades. Besides, strong perceptions of anxiety exist within other mental disorders, e.g., obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder.

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