Anxiety

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Origins

f. Latin anxi-us troubled in mind (f. ang-re to choke, distress)

  • ca.1525 Sir Thomas More De Quat. Noviss. Wks. 1557, 91 There dyed he without grudge, without anxietie.

Definitions

For lessons on the topic of Anxiety, follow this link.
  • 3. Path. ‘A condition of agitation and depression, with a sensation of tightness and distress in the præcordial region.’ Syd. Soc. Lex. 1880.
  • 4. Psychiatry. A morbid state of mind characterized by unjustified or excessive anxiety, which may be generalized or attached to particular situations. Freq. attrib. and Comb., as anxiety-producing, -ridden adjs.; anxiety complex (cf. COMPLEX n. 3); anxiety hysteria, a form of anxiety neurosis; anxiety neurosis [tr. G. angstneurose (Freud 1895, in Neurolog. Zentralbl. XIV. 55)], anxiety state, names technically applied to such a condition of anxiety.
  • 5. Phrase "Age of Anxiety": the title of W. H. Auden's poem applied as a catch-phrase to any period characterized by anxiety or danger.

Description

Anxiety is an unpleasant state of inner turmoil, often accompanied by nervous behavior, such as pacing back and forth, somatic complaints and rumination. It is the subjectively unpleasant feelings of dread over anticipated events, such as the feeling of imminent death. Anxiety is not the same as fear, which is a response to a real or perceived immediate threat; whereas anxiety is the expectation of future threat. Anxiety is a feeling of fear, worry, and uneasiness, usually generalized and unfocused as an overreaction to a situation that is only subjectively seen as menacing. It is often accompanied by muscular tension, restlessness, fatigue, and problems in concentration. Anxiety can be appropriate, but when it is too much and continues too long, the individual may suffer from an anxiety disorder.

People facing anxiety may withdraw from situations which have provoked anxiety in the past. There are different types of anxiety. Existential anxiety can occur when a person faces angst, an existential crisis, or nihilistic feelings. People can also face test anxiety, mathematical anxiety, stage fright or somatic anxiety. Another type of anxiety, stranger anxiety and social anxiety are caused when people are apprehensive around strangers or other people in general. Anxiety can be either a short term 'state' or a long term "trait". Anxiety disorders are a group of mental disorders characterized by feelings of anxiety and fear, where anxiety is a worry about future events. Anxiety disorders are partly genetic but may also be due to drug use including alcohol and caffeine, as well as withdrawal from certain drugs. They often occur with other mental disorders, particularly major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, certain personality disorders, and eating disorders. Common treatment options include lifestyle changes, therapy, and medications.