What is Anxiety and How to Reduce It

What is anxiety and how can you reduce it? Is anxiety crippling your potential and hamstringing your career. Treating anxiety disorders and providing anxiety help will put you back in control and reduce anxiety.

Do you often feel anxious before confronting a challenging situation?

Is anxiety hampering your potential?

While feeling some anxiety before a a test, a job interview, a first date, or the big game may be quite reasonable and possibly necessary to perform at your best.

Too much anxiety can impact negatively on your life and overall well-being. Here we discuss:

  • what is anxiety and when anxiety becomes an anxiety disorder
  • common symptoms of anxiety disorders
  • anti anxiety medications and anxiety medication side effects
  • common ways for treating anxiety disorders
  • self help options for anxiety
  • typical anxiety depression symptoms.

What is anxiety?

There are many reasons why we might start to feel anxious. It might be a big speech you are about to give, perhaps you have just been called into the bosses office, or you are worried about the future or other life events.

These feelings of anxiety may be appropriate for a certain period of time.

Anxiety can be defined as an apprehension or fear that is accompanied by an activation of the autonomic nervous system. This results is common symptoms of anxiety such increased heart rate and rapid breathing (Spielberger, 1975).

Some typical symptoms of anxiety include:

Physical symptoms

  • Muscle tension
  • Inability to relax
  • Shortness of breath
  • Palpitations
  • Upset stomach

Psychological symptoms

  • Poor concentration
  • Poor memory
  • Fear or confusion
  • Constant worry
  • Negative thinking

When does anxiety become an anxiety disorder?

what is anxiety

Anxiety has a preparatory purpose in response to danger. It prepares the mind and body for action!

But when the fear is persistent and unreasonable and the anxiety symptoms (or avoidance of them) interfere with your work, social life or daily functioning it can become an an anxiety disorder.

For example, while you may have a fear of snakes avoiding the zoo is unlikely to impact on your life too much. However, if you replace the word "snake" with "airplane" and your relatives are scattered all over the world, then a fear of flying may become a significant issue that impacts on your daily living.

Here is a list of typical symptoms of anxiety disorders that may impact on your life and daily living.

What are the different anxiety disorders?

There are a number of different anxiety disorders. These include:

Panic disorder

Panic disorder. This is characterized by unexpected panic or anxiety attacks.

Some of common anxiety attack symptoms include a pounding heart, increased sweating, and feelings impending danger or doom.


A phobia is a persistent fear that is excessive in response to a particular object or situation. It is generally avoided or endured with great distress.

For example, a person with a fear of heights may find their heart pounding when 5 floors up in an office building and immediately seek to escape the situation or avoid it in the first place.

Similarly, people who fear crowds may seek to avoid crowds and feel dizzy when caught in a busy shopping center.

Here we discuss the 10 most common phobias and what you can do about it.

Generalized anxiety disorder

Do you worry alot?

The state of the economy, your child's grades, job insecurity....

There is a difference between normal worrying and worrying associated with generalized anxiety disorder.

A person with GAD worries more often and the worry is much more disruptive to their life and overall well-being.

While people with GAD may not avoid work or social situations, they do go about their day with an excessive worry and anxiety, with little to provoke such excessive tension.

Post traumatic stress disorder

A person can develop post traumatic stress disorder symptoms following a terrifying ordeal which has occurred or they have been witness to, and felt intense fear, helplessness or horror.

Post traumatic stress disorder symptoms may involve flashbacks, avoidance of close emotional contact, and feelings of being constantly threatened.

Social anxiety disorder (social phobia)

Social phobia is also known as social anxiety disorder.

Typical symptoms of social anxiety disorder include a persistent and overwhelming fear of being watched or judged in social or performance situation and that their anxiety response may cause embarrassment.

Social phobia inevitably leads to an avoidance of the situation, and this avoidance or fear can interfere with work, school or other daily activities.

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)

People with obsessive compulsive disorder have persistent and obtrusive thoughts (obsessions) and to they use rituals (compulsions) to control these anxiety-provoking thoughts.

A person with obsessive compulsive disorder may be continually worried that they have not locked the door or that they have germs on their hands.

As a result they may compulsively check that they have locked their door or washed their hands to relieve them of these anxiety-provoking thoughts.

These obsessions and rituals can end up having an impact on the overall quality of their life.

Treating anxiety disorders?

Treating anxiety disorders may involve a number techniques that include but are not limited to cognitive behavior therapy, cognitive therapy, interpersonal therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy among others.

Similarly, anxiety disorders can be effectively treated with anti anxiety medications.

In addition, there are a number of self-help for anxiety strategies that can be used for the different anxiety disorders.

The choice depends on the type of anxiety disorder and the severity of the anxiety disorder symptoms.

Often anxiety and depression are close bedfellows so it is important to check out your anxiety depression symptoms and possible seek anxiety and depression treatment.

While there are online counselors for anxiety help, this site is for information purposes only, and we recommend that you see your medical professional for further information.

In this article we have discussed what is anxiety and the different anxiety disorders that may arise. In addition to discussion what is anxiety a number of options have been provided for anxiety relief.

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