Before we talk about anxiety disorders, first we need to understand the difference between anxiety disorders and anxiety.
When you are afraid, your inner fear is usually just because of some specific things and situations outside. There are usually several possibilities for what you are afraid of: you may be afraid that you won't meet a deadline, or that you won't pass an exam, or that you won't be able to pay your bills, or that the person you are trying to please will reject you.
In contrast, when you are in a state of anxiety, you often can't say what you are anxious about. The cause of anxiety is usually the heart rather than the outside world, and seems to be a reaction to some vague, distant, unrecognizable danger. You may be anxious because you are losing control of yourself or some situation. You may have an unexplained fear that some kind of disaster will happen.
The difference between anxiety disorders and normal anxiety in life is ：
- First, the former is more severe (for example, panic attacks).
- second, the former lasts longer (the anxiety does not go away with the stressful situation and may last for months)
- Third, it causes fear, and this fear can interfere with your life
Anxiety has different manifestations and intensities. In mild cases, the anxiety may just be an inner anxiety, and in severe cases such as panic disorder may have symptoms such as palpitations, dizziness, terror and so on. Anxiety that is not related to a specific situation, that is, anxiety caused by sadness, is called generalized anxiety, and more severe cases are called spontaneous panic attack.
The difference is whether you experience more than four of the symptoms listed below at the same time when you are anxious ( If you have more than four symptoms at the same time, you are diagnosed with panic disorder).
- Shortness of breath
- Palpitations (rapid heartbeat or irregular heart rhythm)
- Trembling, shivering
- Sweating profusely
- Nausea and abdominal discomfort
- Dizziness or unsteady standing
- A sense of separation from your body
- Fever or chills
- Fear of dying
- Fear of going crazy or losing your mind
If you are only anxious in certain situations, it is called situational anxiety or phobic anxiety.
Situational anxiety is different from the usual fear because it is often fussey or unrealistic. Driving on the highway, going to the doctor, or being with your spouse can be called situational anxiety if you are overly worried about these kinds of things. If you start avoiding these things, then you have a phobia: you are afraid to drive on the highway, too sick to go to the doctor, or unwilling to face your spouse. In other words, a phobia is a situational anxiety that permanently avoids the situation.
Usually, anxiety only arises when you think of a particular situation. When you feel sad about what might happen, or when you are faced with a situation that scares you, you feel anxiety, which is called anticipatory anxiety. Sometimes this performance is so mild that it is impossible to distinguish it from everyday worries. It is also possible for anticipatory anxiety is very severe and can develop into anticipatory panic.
There is a significant difference between automatic anxiety (or panic) and anticipatory anxiety (or panic).
Automatic anxiety is usually caused by sadness, with the emotions peaking in a flash and then gradually calming down. The emotions usually reach a climax within five minutes, and then after an hour or so, the emotions can calm down. Anticipatory anxiety, on the other hand, is generally accumulates gradually, caused by encountering or simply imagining that you are in a dangerous situation, but it usually calms down quickly. You may spend an hour or more being nervous that you will suddenly crazy about something, but when other things occupy your mind, you can calm down again.