A Beautiful Mess

A Sexual Abuse and Addiction Recovery Blog

Anxiety, Fears and Phobias (Academic Portion)

on December 2, 2010


Anxiety is a psychological and physiological state characterized by cognitive, somatic, emotional and behavioral components.  It creates an unpleasant feeling typically associated with uneasiness, apprehension, fear or worry.  Anxiety does NOT need a trigger to occur.  It can literally come out of ‘nowhere’.  It is a future orientated mood state that prepares or readies a person to cope with upcoming negative events.  It is a normal reaction to stress.  It actually serves its own purpose.  It prepares us for events that we are anxious of happening.

Some physical effects of anxiety are heart palpitations, muscle weakness, tension, fatigue, nausea, chest pain, shortness of breath, stomach aches, and headaches.  Some emotional effects are feelings of apprehension or dread, trouble concentrating, feeling tense or jumpy, anticipating the worst, irritability, restlessness, watching and waiting for signs of danger, feeling like your mind’s gone blank, feelings of unreality, feelings like everything is scary.  Cognitive effects are thoughts about suspected danger.

When anxiety becomes excessive, it may fall under the classification of an anxiety disorder.  It is curable!


Fear is a present-orientated mood state to help one take protective action when safety or health is threatened.  Physiological responses include rapid heartbeat, breathlessness, increased blood pressure, may feel hot, nauseous, sweat, adrenaline increase to increase energy if one needs to fight or flee, become more aware of surroundings.

NOTE: Many confuse anxiety with fear and vice versa.  Anxiety, the act of being anxious, is worrying about a possibility of something happening and preparing for it.  Fear is being in the moment and having right here, right now fight or flight feelings.  Anxiety does serve it’s purpose though, that needs to be reiterated, because simply put, it does allow us to prepare for whatever it is that we are anxious about in the event that it does happen.


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