Anxiety Disorders

There is nothing worse than taking something into your head that is a revolving wheel you can’t control.
– Ugo Betti

Anxiety is a diffuse, vague, highly unpleasant feeling of fear and apprehension. Anxiety disorders exhibit motor tension (jumpiness, trembling, inability to relax), hyperactivity (dizziness, racing heart, perspiration) and apprehensive expectations and thoughts.

Panic disorder is a recurrent anxiety disorder marked by the sudden onset of intense apprehension or terror. Anxiety attacks strike without warning and produce severe palpitations, extreme shortness of breath, chest pains, trembling, sweating, dizziness and a feeling of helplessness. Victims are seized by a fear that they will die, go crazy or do something that they cannot control.

Phobic disorder, commonly called a phobia, is an anxiety disorder in which an individual has an irrational, overwhelming, persistent fear of a particular object or situation. A fear becomes a phobia when an individual goes to almost any length to avoid it.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder in which an individual has anxiety-provoking thoughts that will not go away (obsession) and/or urges to perform repetitive, ritualistic behaviours to prevent or produce a future situation (compulsion).

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a mental disturbance that develops through exposure to a traumatic event (such as war), a severely oppressive situation (such as the Holocaust), severe abuse (as in rape), a natural disaster (such as flood or tornado), or an accidental disaster (such as a plane crash). The disaster is characterised by anxiety symptoms that either immediately follows the trauma or are delayed by months or even years. Symptoms vary but include: flashbacks where the victim relives the event in nightmares or awakened, disassociative-like events; constricted ability to feel emotions resulting in an inability to feel happiness, sexual desire, etc.; excessive arousal resulting in an exaggerated startle response or an inability to sleep; difficulties with memory and concentration; feelings of apprehension, including nervous tremors; impulsive outbursts of behaviour such as aggression or sudden changes in lifestyle.