Anxiety disorders are characterised by an unpleasant and
excessive feeling of anxiety and stress in everyday life.
What is anxiety?
Anxiety is an emotion activated by a potential threat that could endanger in the future something or someone important to us.
There are 3 components of anxiety:
- Cognitive Component: it is the interpretation of a stimulus as a threat. Usually the interpretation is very immediate and unconscious; this is why very often, when we feel anxious, we are not able to exactly explain the reason.
- Physical Component: when we feel very anxious we can experience the following symptoms: palpitation, air hunger, hyperventilation, stomachache, muscle tension, gastrointestinal problems, sweating, sense of confusion, …
- Behavioural Component: anxiety activates the “fight-or-flight” response: our body is ready or to face the threat or to run away from it.
The paradox of anxiety
When we are not totally aware of what the threat is, there can be a paradoxical situation: our body is ready to face the threat, but … what is the threat?!
Another paradox of anxiety is that the threat is usually not in the present moment, but it could possibly happen in the future; the problem is that our body prepares us to face it here and now and will be activated as long as we perceive the threat.
Anxiety is a normal emotion and in little doses it helps us to have a better performance. But when the intensity is excessive and it causes several limitations in our everyday life, it can become really problematic.
Here there are the most common anxiety disorders:
•Panic Attacks and Panic Disorder
•Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Anxiety can be properly managed with Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy thanks to cognitive techniques that aim to restructure the relative beliefs and thanks to behavioural techniques (relaxation techniques included) that will help you to better manage the symptoms and avoidances.
“Understanding the symptoms of anxiety” by I. Tedeschi
“Relaxation techniques: allies against anxiety”, by I. Tedeschi