According to the APA, "Anxiety is an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts and physical changes like increased blood pressure."
Features of anxiety are:
- Recurring, intrusive thoughts or concerns
- Avoiding situations that cause anxiety
- Sweating, trembling, dizziness, and rapid heartbeat
Anxiety can take many different forms such as generalized anxiety, social anxiety, phobias, and panic disorders.
Generalized anxiety is characterized by excessive, uncontrollable, irrational worry about events or activities. This worry impedes daily functioning as individuals are constantly looking for disasters.
Common concerns include:
- Relationship issues
- Work Difficulties
There are physical symptoms associated with generalized anxiety such as fatigue, headaches, numbness, fidgeting, muscle tension, digestive issues, difficulty breathing, insomnia, rashes, difficulty concentrating, sweating, and restlessness.
Social anxiety is characterized by intense fear in one or more social settings. These fears are often triggered by worry about being judged by others. People with social anxiety often avoid social situations, struggle in large crowds or unknown groups, avoid public speaking, and tend to intensely worry and obsess over something they say that may have violated social expectations.
Phobias are intense and persistent fear of an object or situation. Individual's with phobias will go to extreme lengths to avoid what they are afraid of even though they are not in any physical danger from the object. Exposure to the phobic object often leads to panic attack.
Panic attacks are sudden periods of intense fear with some or all of the following symptoms:
- Shortness of breath
- Feeling that something bad is going to happen
Panic attacks typically last for about 30 minutes but can go on for much longer. Even though the effects are frightening, panic attacks themselves are not dangerous.
Concerns relating to anxiety can be treated effectively with therapy. Success rates improve when used in conjunction with medication.