Anxiety: A Widespread Psychological Disorder

One of the most common words used throughout society today is anxiety. With rising rates of anxiety in children, adolescents, and adults, being able to fully comprehend what anxiety is will aid people in being able to cope with, as well as support those who struggle with this. Because this word is so familiar among the community, people have begun to forget the true meaning of it. In addition, people have become desensitized to the seriousness of the battle that occurs for one who is suffering from anxiety.

The feeling of anxiety tends to have a spectrum therefore it has two major definitions. The first being: “a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome.” (oxforddictionaries.com). Coming from the French word anxiety or the Latin word anxietas, it was first recorded as being regularly used in the early sixteenth century as a synonym for worry. Over time, the term gained status as a psychological disorder due to scholars and psychologists recognizing the potential negative outcomes it has; as well as the inability of those suffering from anxiety to be able to control it. The second major definition of anxiety comes from the point of view that it is a mental disorder: “a nervous disorder marked by excessive uneasiness and apprehension, typically with compulsive behavior or panic attacks.” (oxforddictionaries.com).

Anxiety is the feeling that is produced when the sympathetic nervous system activates the body’s fight or flight response when there is no actual threat. This response is the human body’s way of dealing with stress and fear. Hormones known as adrenaline, cortisol, and norepinephrine are released into the bloodstream to heighten one’s sense to enable them to deal with a stressful situation. It must be understood that fear and nervousness are not anxiety. Both fear and apprehension occur when danger is present. Anxiety occurs for no known reason.

The main characteristic of anxiety is the feeling of worry or apprehension for no known reason. This means that there is no circumstance that is contributing to these feelings. In addition to this, one cannot think rationally about their worries. It may be very difficult for those with anxiety to put into perspective the size of the circumstance that is causing anxiety and proportionally match the amount of concern that is acceptable. During heighten times of anxiety, what is known as an anxiety attack may occur. This is when an extreme sense of fear washes over someone very quickly. When an anxiety attack occurs, it is recognizable through many bodily symptoms such as: a racing heart, shortness of breath, dizziness, shaking, as well as excessive sweating.

Anxiety is one of the most common psychological disorders that affects much of society. However, it is often swept under the rug because it is not seen as crucial as other disorders such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. Because the word anxiety has become a socially normal thing to call worry or fear, people often misinterpret or simply do not realize the true meaning and severity of this disorder. Due to this, many are going through life with an unrecognized psychological disorder than can easily be helped with the correct guidance, patience, and time.

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