What is anxiety?
Anxiety is the umbrella term for a number of disorders that are very uncomfortable and includes the following:
Generalized Anxiety characterized by a feeling of nervousness and anticipation of the future resulting in worry that feels totally out of control. The worry is exaggerated and not proportional to any real danger. Although mild anxiety is uncomfortable, severe anxiety can be immobilizing.
Social Anxiety characterized by discomfort in social situations where an individual is very conscious of what people will observe or think. Often this type of anxiety is onerous if one must speak in front of a group. I also makes social interactions difficult. Rather than shyness, Social Anxiety is characterized by self-consciousness.
Panic Disorder characterized by extreme anxiety that results in dizziness, pain in the chest or arm, weakness in the legs, feeling that one is going crazy. Panic Disorder may have a sudden onset, and is extremely disconcerting. People are hit by it out of nowhere and are frequently preoccupied by the fear of experiencing it again.
Phobia characterized by an excessive fear that gets in the way of functioning and prevents one from doing something.
Obsessive thinking sometimes accompanied by Compulsive actions that briefly yet ineffectively reduce the anxiety.
Anxiety often has a physiological base that can be traced back to similar fears in a parent or grandparent. The fears are often known to be less than realistic, but still have absolute power.
Anxiety disorders are treated easily using Cognitive Therapy. With this approach one is taught the skill of identifying the thought that underlies the feeling and replacing it with a more realistic thought. This is a relatively short term approach that significantly reduces symptoms and helps one feel more in control.