Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing describe how to tell whether your anxiety is normal or when it might be time to seek professional help - click here.
Anxiety is an appropriate reaction to situations that are negative and unexpected.
Normal anxiety is present during and shortly after an adversity. However, once the situation resolves, the tension should dissolve and the mind should return to a calm state of being. There should be no lingering anxious thoughts or after effects. You simply move on.
If anxiety persists for days or even weeks after an event, it may be indicative of an anxiety disorder.
Anxiety disorders differ from normal anxiety in specific and important ways including the following:
A Way Of Life:
Anxiety disorders don’t give up easily. They are tenacious and can become a way of life. Anxious thoughts can define the way we look at life, how we act, how we view other people, the way we think about ourselves, and much more.
An anxious mind is always searching for evidence to support its anxious thoughts. Entrenched anxiety disorders cause us to discount evidence that disputes our negative thoughts and to only encode what confirms our pessimistic view.
Chronically anxious people seem to have a lot of trouble getting along with those around them. Anxious and distorted thoughts interfere with our ability to relate realistically and effectively to those around us. They cause us to misinterpret others and inappropriately react to their actions.
Anxious minds can go from calm to a full-blown anxiety attack within minutes. The symptoms can be brief or progressive waves of tension that are overwhelming.
High levels of anxiety can disrupt your ability to think clearly and accurately. While small amounts of normal anxiety may mildly compromise the person’s effectiveness, severe and chronic anxiety may render the person unable to function. They literally freeze and fail to react at all when an immediate response is important. The mind is locked up in wave after wave of debilitating anxiety.
Anxiety disorders can provoke a wide variety of impulsive self-destructive behaviors. These behaviors often represent their desperate efforts to escape their overwhelming anxiety and to be calm even if it is for a little while.
Anxiety can be a very serious condition. If you are worried that someone you know may be living with an anxiety disorder, please seek the assistance of a clinical psychologist.
"The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook" by Edmund Bourne Ph.D.
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America, www.adaa.org