What Is Anxiety?

Anxiety, or extreme apprehension and worry, is a normal reaction to stressful situations. But in some cases, it becomes excessive and can cause sufferers to dread everyday situations.

This type of steady, all-over anxiety is called Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Other anxiety-related disorders include panic attacks—severe episodes of anxiety which happen in response to specific triggers—and obsessive-compulsive disorder, which is marked by persistent intrusive thoughts or compulsions to carry out specific behaviors (such as hand-washing).

Anxiety so frequently co-occurs with depression that the two are thought to be twin faces of one disorder. Like depression, it strikes twice as many females as males.

Generally, anxiety arises first, often during childhood. Evidence suggests that both biology and environment can contribute to the disorder. Some people may have a genetic predisposition to anxiety; however, this does not make development of the condition inevitable. Early traumatic experiences can also reset the body’s normal fear-processing system so that it is hyper-reactive to stress.

The exaggerated worries and expectations of negative outcomes in unknown situations that typify anxiety are often accompanied by physical symptoms. These include muscle tension, headaches, stomach cramps, and frequent urination. Behavioral therapies, with or without medication to control symptoms, have proved highly effective against anxiety, especially in children.

Recent posts on Anxiety

Loneliness and Dis-Connection

Do you pick up your phoned look at the various iterations of Facebook and Twitter when you are with others or feeling somehow lonely? This strategy will only make you more lonely.
Pixabay

Speak Up!

Consider these six keys to confident presenting as you work to lower your anxiety around public speaking. Try and put the focus on your audience.

Will Social Prescribing Be the Next Wellness Phenomenon?

"Social prescribing" is a relatively new non-medical approach to psychological, physical, and financial well-being that has the potential to dramatically improve people's lives.

Anxious? Worry a Lot? Here’s How It Can Be Good For You!

Feeling anxious and worried can increase your motivation and action for dealing with problems and decisions. Research shows how.

Who’da Thunk It?

Turn negative emotions off at the tap.
blue diamond galley

How to Create a Life of Integrity

Bringing integrity into your life means having your outer self fully represent your inner self. This is not a matter of character but one of intention.

Yoga Can Slow Effects of Stress and Aging, Studies Suggest

By Marlynn Wei M.D., J.D. on July 14, 2017 in Urban Survival
New research suggests that doing yoga regularly can help reduce the harmful effects of stress and aging on the body.

Have You Been Infected by Other People's Emotions?

Are other people's emotions contagious? The powerful effect of social contagion.

How to Cope with a Sudden Loss of Confidence

By Alice Boyes Ph.D. on July 13, 2017 in In Practice
Straightforward tips for dealing with fluctuating self-esteem.

Writer's Anxiety

By Amy Green M.A., C.C.C. on July 13, 2017 in Psy-curious
Anxiety can make academic writing tasks feel daunting. What's contributing to these writing worries and what can we do about them?

How to Win the Smartphone-Brain Battle

CBS exposes brain hacking in Silicon Valley. Learn how to hack the hackers.

How to Know When to Take a Mental Health Day

Taking a day off from work to care for your mental health could be instrumental in helping you feel at your best.
litvinovigor1/Flickr

Hey Doc, I'm Not Crazy! - Part I

Ever wonder why your primary care physician referred you to a psychologist? This may provide some insight.
Wellcome Images, used with permission

What We Don't Know about Egg Donation

Egg donation sounds like a good money-maker, but are dangers lurking?

How Animals Heal Us and Teach Us

By Emma M. Seppälä Ph.D. on July 11, 2017 in Feeling It
Animals and pets can bring tremendous healing benefits to children and adults. They think and feel much in the way we do. Here's why we stand to learn a lot from them..

Research Suggests a Cure for Neuroticism

High levels of neuroticism are associated with feelings of anxiety, worry, and a general tendency to fret. New research suggests a way to tame these unpleasant emotions.

We Stand at a Difficult Moment in History

Did Anxiety Help Donald Trump Become President?
Eric Maisel

Survive Your Difficult Family By Being Calm

Much of what gets labeled as individual pathology in adults and children is really the playing out of family stresses and conflicts. Learn what you can do in this 8-part series.

The Teenage Years: 4 Questions That May Predict Thriving

One factor may matter more than you might expect for kids in their teenage years. A recent study from Brazil and Romania has important implications for American teenagers.

Anxiety Is Now Public Enemy No. 1

Anxiety has become a nationwide epidemic that is creating a public health crisis. The good news is that there are drug-free ways to lower your anxiety by engaging your vagus nerve.

Bright Minds, Anxious Hearts: 9 Secrets of a 'Magnet Mind'

By Jared DeFife Ph.D. on July 08, 2017 in The Shrink Tank
Passionate for learning, emotionally intense, frequently indecisive, and highly achievement striving. What happens when gifted kids grow up to become bright, sensitive adults?

Why It's So Hard to Step Outside Your Comfort Zone

By Andy Molinsky Ph.D. on July 08, 2017 in Adaptation
These 5 psychological roadblocks explain how fear can get in the way of courage
publcdomainpictures

The 3 Stages of Dating

Like marriages, dating too moves through stages. Here are the common dangers and challenges of this changing landscape. Knowing the terrain can help you navigate the process
Josephine Ensign

Health Care (Politics) Is Bad for Your Health

Feeling anxious and depressed about possible cutbacks to health care? You are not alone.

Why Does the LGBT Community Experience More Drug Abuse?

Worried about the high rates of of drug abuse in the LGBT community? Here's what you can do to safeguard your LGBT child.

When Mindset Isn’t Enough

By Deborah Grayson Riegel MSW on July 06, 2017 in Speak Easy
Do you sweat, shake, or have stomach pain before a big presentation? Here are five practical strategies to mask the symptoms when having a positive mindset just isn't enough.

Happiness Tool 2: Cultivate Enlightened Tolerance

With the perspective of Enlightened Tolerance, one can pursue happiness, even under adverse circumstances.

Botanical Treatment Options for Traumatic Stress

Hanai ‘awa a ikaika ka makani. Feed with kava so that the spirit may gain strength. —Hawaiian Proverb

Mixed Feelings About School

By Julia Moeller Ph.D. on July 02, 2017 in Passion 101
Are highly engaged students those we do not have to worry about? High learning motivation can come at high costs.