We often talk about anxiety but not everyone is aware of what it actually means.
Sometimes we use the word lightly when something is troubling us, even though what we’re experiencing is not actually anxiety, which causes people to not only be unaware of what anxiety actually is, but also minimises the term for anyone who is indeed suffering from anxiety.
What is anxiety?
What exactly is anxiety? Anxiety is when the body and brain perceive something as dangerous, causing you to feel afraid. Anxiety is a combination of several feelings, including guilt, shame or frustration. Anxiety exists for the purpose of preparing us for situations where we need to be alert and aware, or to help us avoid dangerous situations. Anyone who suffers from anxiety may experience these feelings without a specific cause, or they may occur as a result of mild causes that don’t pose an actual threat to the person.
Anxiety can be triggered by multiple factors depending on what type of anxiety you suffer from, and it also varies for each individual. Triggers include but are not limited to increased external pressure, stress and more internal factors such as illness.
Even though the causes of anxiety can be obvious for some, this is not the case for everyone and some people may suffer from anxiety without knowing the reason why.
The main reason why anxiety often gets confused with worry or stress is that they all have similar symptoms. These symptoms can appear in several different ways in different parts of the body:
- Neurologically. For example headaches and dizziness.
- Digestion. For example stomach cramps, nausea and dry mouth.
- Breathing. For example rapid breathing or trouble breathing.
- Heart. For example elevated heart rate or chest pains.
- Muscles. For examples fatigue or trembling.
- Bladder. For example having to frequently use the toilet.
Therefore it’s understandable that anxiety is often confused with stress, but what classified something as anxiety is the intensity of the symptoms as well as the causes behind them.
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Last updated at: 2022.03.30