Anxiety is an unpleasant state characterized by affective, cognitive, and physiological elements such as fear, worry, apprehension, and tension.
Anxiety is similar to the emotion of fear, although the function of chronic anxiety is often to avoid or mask true fear through mechanisms of anxiety such as worry and anticipation of negative future outcomes. The physiological manifestations of anxiety include increased blood pressure; increased breathing rate (often shallow); increased heart rate; other cardiac symptoms (e.g., pain, “skipped” beats); gastrointestinal distress including nausea, stomach aches, increased motility of the gut, and diarrhea; and generalized bodily distress such as fatigue and pain. Cognitively, anxiety is frequently characterized by an overestimation of the probability of a negative future outcome and an exaggeration of the consequences of the negative outcome. For example, an anxious person may believe that it is likely that they will...
References and Readings
- Allen, L. B., McHugh, R. K., & Barlow, D. H. (2008). Emotional disorders: A unified protocol. In D. H. Barlow (Ed.), Clinical handbook of psychological disorders: A step-by-step treatment manual (4th ed., pp. 216–249). New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
- American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th ed.), Text Revision. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.Google Scholar
- Beck, A. T., & Steer, R. A. (1990). Manual for the Beck anxiety inventory. San Antonio, TX: Psychological Corporation.Google Scholar