I chose the topic of anxiety because it is something that affects my life daily. I have an elderly mother who suffers so severely she does not leave the house unless I am with her. I have tried other methods of understanding and trying to help but they seem to only help temporarily. In my research I hope to find out what it is, what causes it and how to overcome it so I can better assist my mother who deserves a better quality of life.
The first task is to get a clear understanding of what Anxiety truly is. The Merriam-Webster definition is listed below.
Medical Definition of ANXIETY
a : a painful or apprehensive uneasiness of mind usually over an impending or anticipated ill b : a cause of anxiety
: an abnormal and overwhelming sense of apprehension and fear often marked by physiological signs (as sweating, tension, and increased pulse), by doubt concerning the reality and nature of the threat, and by self-doubt about one's capacity to cope with it anxiety noun (Concise Encyclopedia)
In psychology, a feeling of dread, fear, or apprehension, often with no clear justification. Anxiety differs from true fear in that it is typically the product of subjective, internal emotional states rather than a response to a clear and actual danger. It is marked by physiological signs such as sweating, tension, and increased pulse, by doubt concerning the reality and nature of the perceived threat, and by self-doubt about one's capacity to cope with it. Some anxiety inevitably arises in the course of daily life and is normal; but persistent, intense, chronic, or recurring anxiety not justified by real-life stresses is usually regarded as a sign of an emotional disorder. See also stress.
Now that we have a clear understanding, I would like to share the different types of anxiety and define those for you as well. Web Md clearly defines them all.
Panic disorder: People with this condition have feelings of terror that strike suddenly and repeatedly with no warning. Other symptoms of a panic attack include sweating, chest pain, palpitations (irregular heartbeats), and a feeling of choking, which may make the person feel like he or she is having a heart attack or "going crazy."
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD): People with OCD are plagued by constant thoughts or fears that cause them to perform certain rituals or routines. The disturbing thoughts are called obsessions, and the rituals are called compulsions. An example is a person with an unreasonable fear of germs who constantly washes his or her hands.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): A condition that can develop following a traumatic and/or terrifying event, such as a sexual or physical assault, the unexpected death of a loved one, or a natural disaster. People with PTSD often have lasting and frightening thoughts and memories of the event and tend to be emotionally numb.
Social anxiety disorder: Also called social phobia, social anxiety disorder involves overwhelming worry and self-consciousness about everyday social situations. The worry often centers on a fear of being judged by others, or behaving in a way that might cause embarrassment or lead to ridicule.
Specific phobias: A specific phobia is an intense fear of a specific object or situation, such as snakes, heights, or flying. The level of fear is usually inappropriate to the situation and may cause the person to avoid common, everyday situations.
Generalized anxiety disorder: This disorder involves excessive, unrealistic worry and tension, even if there is little or nothing to provoke the anxiety.(WebMd)
Having a basic understanding of anxiety and its types, the next question I myself would ask is who is affected and what causes it. Anxiety disorders affect about 19 million adult Americans (WebMd). Most anxiety disorders begin in childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood. They occur a little more often in women than in men and it affects all races fairly equally.