Fear is a normal healthy response in certain situations and it is necessary for our survival. When we find ourselves in danger your body goes through a physical reaction and adrenaline is released into your bloodstream. Adrenaline is a hormone that is released when we are afraid and it can cause physical changes in the body. Adrenaline can make your heart rate rise, increase your breathing and dilate your pupils. Blood flows into your digestive tract and that gives you that feeling of butterflies or “make your hair stand on end”.
Fight or Flight
Adrenaline is what allows you to fight danger or run away from bigger predators, it is a primal response that helped to ensure our survival. Your increased heart rate and breathing gives you the stamina to run away. Dilated pupils give you the ability to see better to avoid danger and your brain goes into high alert so that you can deal with any danger that comes your way.
Fear Going Crazy
When this flight or fight response kicks in when there is no danger that is where anxiety comes in. You start by having thoughts about current or future events and magnifying the danger. Fear and anxiety feel pretty much the same to the person experiencing them and then adrenaline kicks in. This flooding of adrenaline and the ensuing physical changes are anxiety attacks.
Everyone experiences anxiety from time to time, especially when facing new situations. That is perfectly normal, but when anxiety keeps you from functioning throughout your life then you have a problem. There are different forms of anxiety disorders some deal with a specific phobia, some people get anxiety in social situations, PTSD, generalized anxiety disorder, stress disorders and separation anxiety disorders. Despite the difference causes or triggers the symptoms are largely the same. Symptoms of anxiety can include the following:
- Phobias surrounding objects or situations
- Fear of social settings
- General worries
- Panic attacks
- PTSD including flashbacks and nightmares
Treatment for Anxiety
There are a couple of different effective treatments for anxiety but usually a patient either undergoes psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy or some combination of the two. Cognitive behavioral therapy has been proven highly effective it works by addressing the negative thoughts and the behaviors that sustains your anxiety. If you have severe symptoms then your doctor may combine your therapy with medication to help you deal with the physical and emotional symptoms. Anxiety can be crippling to those that suffer from it, if you are constantly dealing with anxiety then talk to your doctor about solutions.