There is no disputing the fact that fears and anxiety are normal parts of life. However, in order to fully understand what an anxiety disorder is, it is important to note the difference between the two emotional responses.
- Fear is a rational emotional response to a real threat. Research suggests that anxiety symptoms can become worse when a person is under stress. Symptoms include:
• Constant worrying
• Trembling and muscle tension
• Feeling tense and unable to relax
• Feeling tired
• Having trouble staying focused
• Feeling irritable or grouchy
• Trouble falling or staying asleep
• Feeling nauseous or otherwise physically ill when worrying
A panic attack is a sudden surge of overwhelming fear that that comes without warning and without any obvious reason. It is far more intense than having anxiety or the feeling of being 'stressed out' that most people experience. One out of every 75 people will experience a panic attack at one time in their lives.
• raging heartbeat
• difficulty breathing, feeling as though you can't get enough air
• terror that is almost paralyzing
• dizziness, lightheadedness or nausea
• trembling, sweating, shaking
• choking, chest pains
• hot flashes, or sudden chills
• tingling in fingers or toes ('pins and needles')
• fear that you're going to go crazy or are about to die
Sometimes people who suffer from anxiety revert to alcohol or drug abuse. Using to drugs or alcohol to cope with anxiety can be dangerous and makes anxiety worse.