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Anxiety is a normal reaction to stress, and can actually be beneficial in some situations. For some people, however, anxiety
can become excessive.
While the person suffering may realize their anxiety is too much, they may also have difficulty controlling it, and it may negatively affect their day-to-day living.
There are a wide variety of anxiety disorders, including post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and panic disorder to name a few.
Collectively, they are among the most common mental disorders experienced by Americans.
- National Institute for Mental Health
Severe anxiety and panic may be only two of several symptoms related to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
The person will have recurring images of the traumatic event, often with the same degree of anxiety as during the event itself. Or, he will suddenly feel as though the event is occurring in the present.
Recurring nightmares of the trauma are dramatic and disturbing. Nightmares, anxiety, or depression can disturb sleep. The person may remain tense and anxious throughout the day, and may startle easily.
As they become more mentally involved with these experiences, the traumatized individuals begin to withdraw from the world, show less emotion, and become disinterested in people and activities that were once important. They avoid any situations that might stimulate memories of the traumatic event.
Guilt, depression, and sudden outbursts of aggressive behavior may also surface. Drug and alcohol abuse develop in some, as they attempt to manage these responses and the generalized anxiety that may occur.
People often think of anxiety attacks and panic attacks as the same thing, when in fact, they're very different. Episodes of panic attacks may occur when expected, or completely out of the blue.
Anxiety and panic attacks have many of the same, or similar, symptoms, but an anxiety attack usually comes in response to a particular environmental stressor. A panic attack, however, comes upon an individual unprovoked.
People who suffer from panic attacks may start avoiding activities or places where they have had panic attacks before, such as get-togethers with friends, or even the grocery store.
Avoiding these and other places in fear of having another panic attack is called anticipatory anxiety.
Anticipatory anxiety is where a person experiences increased levels of anxiety by thinking about an event or situation in the future.
Rather than being a specific disorder in its own right, anticipatory anxiety is a symptom commonly found in a number of anxiety related conditions.
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