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Anxiety Is Normal Until Its Not

Anxiety is a normal and often healthy emotion. However, when a person regularly feels disproportionate levels of anxiety, it might become a medical disorder.

Anxiety disorders form a category of mental health diagnoses that lead to excessive nervousness, fear, apprehension, and worry. 

Anxiety is a reaction to many kinds of events and situations in our lives and is one of our internal warning systems that alerts us to danger or other threats and prepares our bodies to fight back or get out of a dangerous situation.

Anxiety is a problem when it becomes overwhelming or unmanageable and it comes up unexpectedly. Anxiety disorders are mental illnesses that have a big impact your life. People may avoid going about their daily lives to avoid anxiety. They may experience a lot of uncomfortable physical sensations and physical health problems. Many people say that they know their anxiety is not based on reality, but they feel ‘trapped’ by their thought and feelings. Anxiety disorders can be treated. It is important to seek help if you are concerned about anxiety in your life.

Normal anxiety…

Is related to a specific situation or problem

Lasts only as the situation or problem

Is proportional to the situation or problem

Is a realistic response to a realistic problem or situation

When someone experiences an anxiety disorder…

Anxiety may come up unexpectedly, for seemingly no reason the anxiety response to a situation or problem may be much stronger than expected.  May experience a lot of unrealistic anxiety, such as fear of a situation that likely will never happen

Anxiety may last for a long time, even when the situation or problem has been resolved

Anxiety may feel impossible to control or manage and you may avoid situations or things that they believe to trigger anxiety symptoms

Five strategies you can use to try to stop a panic attack when you are having one or when you feel one coming on:

  1. Use deep breathing
  2. Recognize that you are having a panic attack
  3. Close your eyes
  4. Find a focus object
  5. Use muscle relaxation techniques 

Most importantly do not suffer in silence, this may be the time to seek professional help to manage this emotion. This is an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts, and physical changes like increased blood pressure.

Matthew Taylor, MHRT, AODC, CCFP