Understanding Anxiety

Anxiety can be defined as emotions which are typically negative in nature. It will often consist of fear and worry, and in extreme cases of panic attacks, some patients may even exhibit physical signs such as nausea or chest pains. Anxiety is a complex emotion, and is composed of a number of different elements. Some of these elements are somatic or cognitive, and the body will prepare itself to deal with an outside threat. The heart rate speeds up, and the blood pressure is increased. The assorted muscles in the body will also receive higher levels of blood. At the same time, the functions of the digestive system will decrease.

Those who experience anxiety will typically have a sense of dread. A number of voluntary and involuntary occurrences will take place in the body, and the goal of these occurrences is to get theperson away from the object that is causing it to have anxiety, or in more common language, fight or flight. Anxiety is an imperitive emotion, and is created to increase the survival rate of organisms. In humans it appears that anxiety originates from the hippocampus and amygdala, two regions of the brain. When a person senses bad odors or tastes, there will be a large amount of blood flow that will be present in the amygdala. Evidence also discloses that measurable levels of anxiety will be seen in this situation also, though not to the extremes of experiencing a panic attack.

Based on these studies, in that particular case it appears that lower level anxiety is developed to keep humans and other organisms from eating food or objects that may be harmful to their well being. While anxiety is normal, a person that has excessive amounts of it may suffer from what is called an anxiety disorder. In sever cases, people with anxiety disorders may suffer strong cases where they are terrorized.

Anxiety disorders are broken down into phobias, panic disorders, generalized anxiety disorders, and obsessive compulsive disorders. Someone who is suffering from a phobia will have an abnormal amount of fear of a certain object or situation. Those who experience phobias tend to have highly active imaginations, and acknowledge that their fear is often irrational.

When a person suffers from a panic disorder, they will have extreme panic attacks, and could experience dizziness or breathing problems. Most attacks will usually reach their height in approximately 10 minutes.

Generalized anxiety disorders are common, and effect a much larger portion of the population. It is seen in both men and woman, and has been characterized by extended periods of anxiety that are not conntected to any specific object or situation.

With obsessive compulsive disorder, the sufferer will have an obsession or compulsion when it comes to certain types of behavior. People who suffer from this disorder will feel the need to do things obsessively in order to calm their anxiety, such as the urge to be extremely clean, and obsessive handwashing.

There are three primary methods that are used to help those who are suffering from anxiety and panic disorders, and these are counseling, prescription medications, and self help programs.

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