Anxiety is an unpleasant feeling of fear of what is about to happen. Anxiety is actually the "natural" alarm system of one's body, whose objective is to signal impending danger and to prepare one for it.
When walking in a dark and unknown alley alone, it is reasonable and desirable to feel anxiety, which is characterized by accelerated heartbeat and a general state of alertness and being ready to react. This is a normal and healthy state that protects us.
People vary in the way in which they express their anxiety, in its intensity and duration, but, in general, it is expressed in most people on four levels: physical, mental, cognitive, and behavioral.
Anxiety becomes a problem when the person's reaction to the anxiety-arousing factor is exaggerated and inappropriate in terms of duration and intensity, and even affects the person's daily functioning.
Anxiety creates, no doubt, great distress, affecting the person's quality of life and his/her surrounding and therefore
Generalized anxiety –Extreme, sometimes chronic, concern about the question "What is going to happen?" This anxiety takes up most of the person's time and appears in many areas of his or her life, regardless of a specific situation or event, and is therefore called generalized anxiety.
Obsessive-compulsive anxiety – Obsessive, incessant thoughts that are sometimes followed by actions that are performed as a kind of a repetitive ritual, time and again. Anxiety is usually related to fear of dirt, infections, or bacteria, being concerned about perfect performance, punctuality and neatness, or being concerned about negligence that may lead to a disaster; for example, repeated checking that the door is closed, closing the gas valve, etc.
Panic disorder – Abrupt attacks of very intense anxiety, followed by the above mentioned physical symptoms, which last between several minutes and an hour, and then just fade away.
During the attack, the person is afraid of a heart attack, suffocation, or death, or feels that he's going to lose his mind. Between the attacks, the person fears that he is going to have another attack that will take him by surprise, leading to a cycle of anxiety about the chance of having another anxiety attack. Anxiety is sometimes followed by avoiding being in places that have no escape routes.
Phobia – The anxiety symptoms appear only in the presence of very specific stimuli or situations. There are several common phobias: of objects (for example, of reptiles), of heights, of darkness, examination anxiety, of eating in public, of closed places (claustrophobia), and so on.
Social phobia – Is more common among children and adolescents. It looks like extreme shyness and appears in social situations which the individual experiences as humiliating or embarrassing or in situations in which they may experience rejection. It is usually accompanied by avoiding social situations.
Post-traumatic stress disorder – Develops following a traumatic experience that creates a shock in the individual's mental equilibrium. Anxiety symptoms appear when the traumatic event is remembered, such as returning to the scene where the event took place, and so on.
The team of experts at Dr. Tal's Centers will be happy to help you with the diagnosis of normal fear and anxiety that causes unnecessary suffering and direct you to the therapy that best suits you. Call anytime and we'll be happy to assist.