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Anxiety can be defined as an unpleasant state of inner turmoil and may be accompanied by a variety of nervous behaviours.
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Experiencing occasional anxiety is a normal part of life. People may become anxious from time to time due to apprehension or anticipation of something such as an upcoming event or situation.
Anxiety can be related to positive or negative emotions. Fear or excitement can create anxiety in someone. Many of us experience this feeling from time to time for a variety of reasons. Perhaps an upcoming test, a scheduled meeting or date, or even a trip you may be looking forward to.
Anxiety disorder occurs when normal day-to-day functioning is disrupted or when anxiety persists without an identifiable cause. It is considered a disorder when people experience intense, excessive and persistent worry and fear about everyday situations.
Typically the worry and fear interferes with daily activities, becomes difficult to control and is out of proportion with the actual danger or concern.
A person with an anxiety disorder may have recurring intrusive thoughts or concerns. These feelings can often ruminate and become obsessive.
Some symptoms of anxiety include sweating, trembling, dizziness, rapid heartbeat, biting of fingernails or even panic attacks. Anxiety can be extremely debilitating and can have a serious impact on daily life.
Some examples of anxiety disorders:
Social anxiety disorder (social phobia) - A strong fear of being judged by others and being embarrassed.
Separation anxiety - An excessive anxiety regarding separation from home or from people with whom the individual has a strong emotional attachment.
Obsessive compulsive disorder - When a person has distressing and/or recurring thoughts, fears, or images (obsessions) that cannot be controlled. These can lead to an urgent need to perform certain rituals or routines (known as compulsions). These compulsive rituals are performed in an attempt to either prevent the obsessive thoughts or hopefully make them go away.