Thursday, December 3, 2009

By Sue Johnson

Feeling anxious sometimes is a normal part of life. We all have things that we find challenging or we have concerns about, and if we have to deal with these situations anxiety often comes up.

An appropriate degree of anxiety is a normal response in many situations and can actually be helpful. An appropriate degree of anxiety motivates us to consider our options, prepare, and to take action.

But sometimes people get out of balance. They move from normal, appropriate anxiety to an anxiety panic attack symptom where the anxiety causes great discomfort without helping performance at all and possibly even detracting from performance or keeping the person from taking any action altogether. Obviously, this is an undesirable and detrimental situation.

A key point is that in abnormal anxiety the symptoms are way out of proportion to the actual situation. The person suffering from the anxiety or panic attack realizes it doesn't make any sense, but without proper training most can't escape the grip of fear. For many people, this feeling of being out of control is one of the worst symptoms.

In addition to emotional symptoms, people have physical symptoms during an anxiety panic attack. The body is responding exactly the way it would if the person's physical well-being was being threatened. It's the old fight or flight response and it leads to a pounding pulse, rapid breathing, nervousness, sweating, etc.

Few things are so disruptive to living a happy, normal life as suffering from frequent severe episodes of anxiety. Fortunately, many treatment options are available today. Some approaches involve working with therapist, but they're also many self-help techniques available as well.

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