Anxiety is one of the most distressing emotions that people feel. It is sometimes called fear or nervousness. The word “anxiety” describes a number of problems including phobias (fear of specific things or situations, such as heights, elevators, insects, flying in airplanes), panic attacks (intense feelings of anxiety in which people often feel like they are about to die or go crazy), posttraumatic stress disorder (repeated, memories of terrible traumas with high levels of distress), or obsessive-compulsive disorder (a mixture of worries and anxiety symptoms experienced most of the time). We also use the word “anxiety” to describe brief periods of nervousness or fear that we experience when faced with difficult experiences in our life.
Most people who are anxious are very aware of a change in physical symptoms; jitteriness, tension, sweaty palms, lightheadedness, difficulty breathing, increased heart rate, and flushed cheeks. Important events in our lives can contribute to increased feelings of anxiety. Sometimes, those feelings become overwhelming. All the physical, behavioral, and thinking changes we experience when we are anxious are part of the anxiety responses called “fight, flight, or freeze.” (Source: Mind Over Mood by Christine A. Padesky Ph.D. and Dennis Greenberger Ph.D.)
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