Compendium of Horror, Fear, and the Grotesque

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Anxiety Disorder: Definition

Anxiety is the body’s natural response to stress or some impending danger. It is a built-in mechanism that alerts us when we feel threatened. Anxiety normally helps us cope with day to day situations. Although the sensation of anxiety is often an unpleasant one, anxiety is basically a positive mechanism. It keeps us alert and focused, causes us to react, and compels us to solve problems. Anxiety is a disorder when it becomes chronic or disabling. When it results in irrational fears about commonplace situations or causes excessive concern and fear (fear of loss of control or fear of dying), then anxiety is no longer beneficial and must be treated as a psychological disorder.

Physical symptoms of anxiety often include:

  • Heart palpitations

  • Shortness of breath

  • Dizziness

  • Stomach and intestinal problems

  • Muscle spasms and twitches

  • Fear of fainting

See the following for more information about Anxiety: