Author: Darla L. DeLeon

Anxiety. Do you know what it is? Do you know how to recognize the symptoms of anxiety disorders and the difference in them?

I sat in on a very interesting webinar this week that discussed what anxiety is and how to recognize it when it comes. This was timely with the anxiety we are all feeling while being in quarantine, out of work, and the unknown ‘new normal” that we will now have.

Our structured lives have been turned upside down. Stopped in it’s tracks. For some, this caused an incredible amount of anxiety because the pattern of their lives has been disrupted and they do not know how to handle it. We are all creatures of habit. For those who have had to transition from leaving home for work or school, or go out to eat; life just changed.

So, what is anxiety?

Classic definitions include feelings of unease or being nervous and out of sorts that cause distress for the body.  It can be caused by the fear of the unknown or from disruption of one’s routine.  One might become apprehensive of what our new normal will look like for work, school, and life in general. When anxiety disrupts one’s life beyond their control, it may become a disorder. “Anxiety disorders form a category of mental health diagnoses that lead to excessive nervousness, fear, apprehension, and worry. These disorders alter how a person processes emotions and behave, also causing physical symptoms. Mild anxiety might be vague and unsettling, while severe anxiety may seriously affect day-to-day living.” (Fellman. 2020).

There are seven different anxiety disorders that are differentiated by criteria like:

  • If you have anxiety about everything, it is generalized anxiety.
  • If your anxiety focuses on one thing, it is a specific phobia anxiety.
  • if you have anxiety when being in social situations, it is social phobia.
  • If you have anxiety when separated from someone or something-that is separation anxiety.
  • If you have unexpected panic or fear, that is panic disorder.
  • If you do not like to be in crowds and it causes a lot of anxiety, that is called Agorophobia.
  • If you experience overwhelming anxiety and cannot speak in front of crowds, That is called Secular Mutism.
  • If you have incapacitating anxiety when in public places, that is called Agora Marketplace.

Having anxiety is normal. We all experience it from time to time. It’s is what we do with the anxiety is the key. This world is ever changing. We must learn to adapt and change while keeping our sanity.