What is Anxiety? Complete Guide

Put simply, anxiety is a mood condition that is most often characterized as fear, uneasiness, worry, and dread. There is no doubt that these are feelings that none of us would like to experience, however, the chances that there is a human being capable of avoiding such feelings is almost nonexistent. This is because anxiety, if not excessive, is a perfectly normal reaction to the things that happen to us. It is in human nature to observe the things around him, detect all the possible threats and find a way to deal with them.

However, together with the detection of threats comes the fear or worry of what might happen if we don’t manage to avoid the threats in question. This kind of reaction is almost inevitable and if the anxiety that a person is dealing with does not interfere with his or her life in any way, then this level of anxiety is not considered dangerous.

Anxiety becomes a problem if it is excessive and if an identifiable cause cannot be found. In such cases, patients are diagnosed with a condition called Generalized Anxiety Disorder. GAD-7 is used to determine the severity of a person’s condition, but there are other forms of evaluation that have to be referred to in order to confirm the results of GAD-7.

Symptoms of Anxiety

The symptoms are numerous and they can be divided into two categories: the physical and emotional symptoms. The first category includes such physical symptoms as headaches, shortness of breath, nausea, tension, heart palpitations, muscle weakness, fatigue, chest pain, and stomach aches. Although panic attacks are another type of anxiety disorder, there are cases where they appear in combination with GAD.

This does not mean that every person suffering from GAD suffers from panic attacks as well, nor does it mean that if a person is affected by GAD that he or she is prone to panic attacks. If a person suffers from GAD, occasional panic attacks in such cases are, by some experts, considered to be just a consequence of GAD and not another disorder that the person is affected by.

Emotional symptoms are much harder to identify because doctors have to rely on their patient’s perception of his or her feelings, which is most often subjective. However, in most patients, it can be observed that they have nightmares, various obsessions and they always anticipate the worst. It has also been observed that people suffering from anxiety often have trouble concentrating; they are restless and easily irritable. It can also be expected, but not in all cases, that patients are so afraid of dying that every single symptom they experience is interpreted as a symptom of a severe or terminal illness.

Anxiety is thus a condition with numerous symptoms, both physiological and psychological ones, which make it extremely difficult for a person to lead a normal life. It goes without saying that normal is a relative notion and that many people disagree on what it actually means, but there is no doubt, though, that in this sense, the most sensible meaning of normal life would be, besides being able to sleep and function, it would also mean being able to enjoy and appreciate life.