The higher the level of anxiety, the more difficult it becomes to manage it. Fear is a natural part of life, and some things need to be feared. Everyone relates to the classic “fight or flight response” which resides in each human (and animals, too). Our nervous system is pre-programmed to give us the necessary adrenaline we need when danger appears. In emergency situations we need to have the alertness and energy to either fight hard or run away quickly.
But sometimes we learn to fear things we shouldn’t. For instance, a child who begins to fear school. Their body gives them a “fight or flight” response. There is no one to fight and no where to run. This now turns into maladaptive anxiety symptoms and eventually into panic attacks for many people.
Symptoms of anxiety may include: racing heart, shortness of breath, hyper alertness, jumpiness, trouble sleeping, muscle tension, stomach and bowel symptoms, difficulty concentrating and irritability. It may also develop into chronic or exaggerated worry and tension, with nothing that seems to provoke it.
People with anxiety disorder may worry excessively about one particular part of their life (the safety of their children, health, money, work) or they may have trouble determining the cause of their intensive anxiety.
Counseling to recover from anxiety disorders includes cognitive and supportive techniques. Exposure to the feared events and learning to overcome unwarranted fears may be part of therapy. Medication is often helpful to break the cycles and inhibit the “fight or flight” response.