Welcome to the first blog on the Angst in Anxiety.
Anxiety is an emotion, a feeling, and a condition. It involves the body and our physiological responses. Its most common feature is fear. Anxiety always involves fear.
Angst is from the German word Furcht, which means fear. Angst focuses in on a person’s intense feeling of inner turmoil, apprehension, and anxiety. Angst also took on a life of its own when the Existential philosophers such as Soren Kierkegard used it to describe a spiritual condition that involved fear, insecurity, and a sense of being lost.
When the words are combined I intend this to convey the double-dose inherent in anxiety. The word appears rather benign, but to experience anxiety, in any of the forms in which it may present, is anything but benign.
Here is an overview of some basics to consider:
Anxiety is a world problem; it is a problem in the United States that affects over 28 million people. Anxiety is based on fear and worry. The fear or worry may be real or anticipatory. It may be based on like-lind things that have happened in a person’s life or it may be formless and free-floating. The biological, psychological, emotional, and inter-relational results are the same. Anxiety paralyzes, restricts, or explodes into relationships with those we love.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has established a new mental health initiative targeting anxiety throughout the world. The WHO is conducting many new studies, such as one in China where the prevalence of anxiety is a cause for both concern and alarm. More than 17 countries are included in the new World Mental Health Initiative focusing on Anxiety Disorders.
The Archives of General Psychiatry just published an article in August 2011 titled, “Childhood Depression, Anxiety Tied to Adult Pain.” In this article the study showed that children who grew up with parents suffering from three forms of chronic pain were more likely to develop anxiety and depression. The three pain scenarios with the parents were frequent or severe headaches, osteoarthritis, and chronic spinal pain (back or neck). There is a connection between parent medical problems and adapting of a parenting style that may be either overly anxious or depressed.
Anxiety is a large umbrella under which we find specific disorders. These include: generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder with or without agoraphobia, posttraumatic stress disorder, acute stress disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and at times attention deficit disorder is added to the list of anxiety-related disorders.
In children anxiety can manifest as overanxious disorder of childhood, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, obsessive-compuslsive disorder, dissociative tendencies, posttraumatic stress disorder, acute stress disorder, and in learning and behavioral problems evidenced in school performance.
Life events and trauma can cause or exacerbate an anxiety disorder. Anxiety is debilitating. Anxiety can be addressed, managed, and eliminated.
What are your thoughts on the presence of anxiety in your life?
Nanette Burton Mongelluzzo, PhD