There are several anxiety disorders including Panic Disorders, Generalized Anxiety, Social Phobia and PTSD.  They all share the feature of excessive fear and anxiety and related behavioral disturbances.  What exactly does that mean?

Fear is the emotional response to a real or perceived imminent threat, while anxiety is the anticipation of a future threat.  Fear and anxiety activate various neurological systems and are experienced as

  • Tightness or pain in the chest
  • Abdominal distress
  • Increased irritability and angry outbursts

Fear and anxiety lead to various Behavioral disturbances, such as:

  • Obsessive, repetitive thoughts that you can’t “shut off”.
  • Avoidance of the threatening object or situation.
  • Attempts to ignore or suppress thoughts through substance use, ritualistic behaviors such as hand washing, ordering, checking, hair pulling or skin picking.
  • Recurrent, distressing memories that manifest as nightmares or flashbacks.
  • Inability to recall events.
  • Hypervigilance or exaggerated startle response.
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