Sunday, April 5, 2009

ANXIETY vs FEAR

I know about FEAR. I know about ANXIETY. I am not so certain of the differences.

I did a little research and found a helpful "fact sheet" from the Mental Health Association.

Fear and Anxiety have similar emotional symptoms. With a fear, we generally know what it is that causes our symptoms; i.e., we know what we are afraid of. Healthy fear protects us from doing unsafe things or getting ourselves into potentially dangerous situations.

With Anxiety, the reasons for our emotional symptoms are not clear to us; we don't know WHY we feel a certain way, and that "unknowing," that "lack of control" can send us spiraling off into a serious "panic attack," a chest-tightening, heart-palpitating, sweating, nauseous experience that can get worse and worse over time, even becoming life-threatening.

When our normal little "anxieties" about life begin to affect our ability to function in a "normal" way, we are said to have an "anxiety disorder."

There are several identified anxiety disorders, among them are Obsessive Compulsive, Post-traumatic Stress, Agoraphobia, and many other phobias. All of these conditions merit professional assessment. There are several avenues for treatment including counseling, medication, and alternative therapies.

I know individuals who have lived with uncontrolled anxiety for DECADES! Some just thought it was normal; others knew they were "different" but thought it was just something they had to "deal with." When properly diagnosed and treated, these individuals experienced amazing improvement in the quality of their lives. More than once, I heard: "Oh, if I had only known this before!" What a shame--to have spent 30 or 40 years of their lives in fear and isolation.

Don't believe that there is nothing that can be done. Talk to your doctor; get a referral and have a professional evaluation. You might be denying yourself the wonderful life you deserve.

11 comments:

  1. It took me years to realize that my symptoms were anxiety attacks. My doctor treated them as hypoglycemia and then possibly low blood pressure. Until once I had a panic attack while I was in the hospital.... my pulse measured normal, my blood pressure measured normal...and we eventually found that it was anxiety. It makes SUCH a difference knowing.

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  2. well you have made me anxious on this one though.........hehehehehe

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  3. very informative post, thanks for sharing it to us, continue your work, have a nice day!

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  4. Informative stuff. Folks should adopt my patented "The Hawg Method" of dealing with anxiety.

    Antsy about the unknown? Just growl right through it ;)

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  5. I learn a lot from your post. I am now observant on my own self. Keep on posting. Your blog is a great help.

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  6. Excellent awareness post.
    It is also important that our family members are just as aware. For people caught up in any type of anxiety disorder...it can be difficult to identify with. It may take an outsider to direct you in the right direction.
    Always get a second opinion and even with all of the information on the internet highway..RESEARCH yourself.
    Your health is your responsibility!

    Have a very good day!

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  7. I had anxiety problems for years. I couldn't drive, ride in elevators, eat in restaurants and many other things without having horrible panic attacks. I thought there was something physically wrong with me and after seeing a LOT of Doctors I was told to see a shrink - well I was 18 and thought I was being told I was nuts, so I never went, never got help and had to live with this for a very long time. I don't know how it happened, but as I got older and maybe more comfortable in my own skin, these panic attacks happened less and less - now I hardly ever have to deal with them. I wish someone had told me that I wasn't nuts, that this happens to A LOT of people - I really felt alone.

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  8. I, too, suffered from GAD, generalized anxiety disorder, which is a form of low-grade all the time anxiety. In fact, until I was willing to take medication, I didn't know what it was like to NOT have the anxiety. It was like a hum in the background. For me, the answer was taking the right amount of medication - in my case, 150 mg. of effexor XR (this was selected because it effects both serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. I am also a psychotherapist in California and specialize in working with individuals with anxiety disorders including panic attacks. I don't advocate for or against meds for anybody, but I try to provide as much information and suggest everybody see their MD along with being in talk therapy with me. I utilize a hybrid of cognitive behavioral therapy along with something called ACT (acceptance and commitment therapy) which emphasizes deciding to act in the face of feeling anxious. It's challenging to say the least and yes, I get to work with my own anxiety, too.

    Good writing.

    Warmly,

    ~Laura

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  9. Really awesome blog. I enjoyed reading this review from you. I found that you really update your site regularly that made me more interesting. I've bookmarked your site for my future use.

    Thank you
    sagar
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  10. I, too have been suffering panic attack for two years but gladly I have seek a help from doctor after couple of months of feeling it. It has been said, depression and anxiety attack go together. It was such a horrible experience of mine. Glad that I feel a lot better. But the sad thing is, it is hard for me to let go of taking pill for depression. I take anxiety pill when I feel my heart beating so fast, rare to happen now. Thanks God. This is my advice to everyone that if they feel something they do not understand, they should see a doctor and express it out before it gets worse.

    I love to read this topic. Very informative to those who do not know anything about anxiety. I bookmarked your page and would love to come by again for more articles to read.

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  11. Nothing for nothing.

    -----------------------------------

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I would be very pleased if you leave a comment. I will read every one too!!!
Doug (Gruggers) in Missoula

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