What Is Anxiety?
Anxiety is your mind and body's natural response to events that are threatening. The right amount of anxiety can help you, but too much anxiety can interfere with your life.
Some worry and anxiety is normal for everyone. But when anxiety is severe, lasts for several weeks and includes symptoms that keep you from doing things you usually would, it may be something to discuss with your health care professional.
Anxiety symptoms are real. They are not just in your head. They can be treated, and they are nothing to be ashamed of.
Common Symptoms of Anxiety
Fight or Flight
As long as humans have been on earth, when they have been confronted with threatening situations, their bodies have had automatic responses to prepare them to fight the threat or run away from it.
In our brains, the hypothalamus, when stimulated, directs nerve cells to fire and starts a chemical release increasing adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol in the blood and causing the reactions listed above.
In people with depression, bipolar disorder and/or anxiety disorders, the fight or flight response may be stimulated more often and for longer periods of time than in people without these illnesses. This means that more things are perceived as threatening. An out-of-balance fight or flight response can cause a person to
All of these things can interfere with people's lives so much that they aren't able to do things they would like to do and their relationships are strained or lost.
You are not alone.
DBSA asked web site visitors to take an anxiety survey in March 2005. More than 95% of the people, most of whom were diagnosed with depression or bipolar disorder, had experienced anxiety symptoms.
Anxiety can begin early in life for people with depression or bipolar disorder. More than half the people said they had experienced anxiety some time between birth and age 18. Even if you can't remember a time when you didn't feel worried or fearful, there are things you can do today to work toward a life that is not controlled by anxiety.
info, training, events
- Brochures (printable)
- Living Successfully Course
- Ask the Doc
- Outside Resources
- Wellness Options
treatment, tools, research
- Peer Support
peer groups, inspiration
- Help Others
family, friends, peers
- For Clinicians