Anxiety is the natural, uneasy feeling encountered in a stressful situation. Examples of anxiety-causing events can be taking an exam or being interviewed for a possible job. Anxiety is also the common response to a dangerous or difficult situation, and is a positive sign that the body and mind are reacting appropriately to external stressors. Those who work well under pressure may find anxious situations a natural performance enhancer. However, excessive anxiety is unhealthy.
Approximately one in ten individuals living in the UK are plagued by what can be classified as troublesome anxiety, or anxiety disorder. Such disorders are defined by long-lasting, intense feelings of excessive nervousness that interfere with living a normal life. Anxiety disorders can often be associated with depression and other mental disorders, and may manifest in one or more of several forms listed below.
Phobia is irrational fear of an external stimulus, characterized by an unreasonable insistence of avoiding the stimulus. Phobia typically becomes classified as an anxiety disorder once it becomes evident that it interferes with one’s operation of life. Well-known phobias include claustrophobia, the fear of small enclosures, arachnophobia, the fear of spiders, and acrophobia, which is the fear of heights.
A person diagnosed with Obsessive-compulsive disorder will find the need to repeat a sequence compulsively. Obsessions are ideas that OCD sufferers become transfixed over. In turn, compulsion arises caused by the stress of obsessive thought. An activity such as locking the front door can become a mild to severe anxiety for the OCD sufferer, as they obsess about whether the door was actually locked, and compulsively return to make sure.
Post-traumatic stress disorder
The onset of post-traumatic stress disorder occurs from witnessing or experiencing a traumatic event. PTSD results in a recurring anxiety related to memories, thoughts, or other recollections of the traumatic event or events that occurred. The disorder has the capability of manifesting years after the event.
Generalized anxiety disorder
A general feeling of anxiety over nothing in particular, that pervades and persists over a long period of time is called Generalized anxiety disorder. A feeling of impending occurrence happens to those who suffer the disorder. Panic attacks and phobias are not uncommon.