Encyclopedia of Immigrant Health

2012 Edition
| Editors: Sana Loue, Martha Sajatovic


  • Mark Agius
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-5659-0_45

Anxiety is both a psychological and a physiological state and includes cognitive, somatic, emotional, and behavioral components. These components, put together, produce an unpleasant feeling, which is usually associated with unease, apprehension, fear, or worry. Whereas fear leads to behaviors such as escape and avoidance, anxiety occurs as a consequence of threats that are perceived to be uncontrollable or unavoidable.

Anxiety is a normal reaction to stress. It acts to help a person deal with a difficult situation by prompting and enabling the person to cope with it. While anxiety can be adaptive, when it becomes excessive, it may manifest as an anxiety disorder, and such disorders may become important medical problems.

Anxiety acts to alert the person to the possible risks within the environment so that the person can manage them appropriately. Anxiety can cause a number of physical effects, which include heart palpitations, muscle weakness and tension, fatigue, nausea, chest pain,...

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Suggested Readings

  1. Ohman, A. (2000). Fear and anxiety: Evolutionary, cognitive, and clinical perspectives. In M. Lewis & J. M. Haviland-Jones (Eds.), Handbook of emotions (pp. 573–593). New York: The Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  2. Seligman, M. E. P., Walker, E. F., & Rosenhan, D. L. (2001). Abnormal psychology (4th ed.). New York: W.W. Norton.Google Scholar

Suggested Resources

  1. Agius, M., Jones, P., Talwar, A., Ward, C., & Zaman, R. (2008). Migration and mental health. COST website. ISO603 April 2008.Google Scholar
  2. Anxiety Centre Web site. Useful information about anxiety. http://www.anxietycentre.com/anxiety-symptoms.shtml
  3. Anxiety Symptoms, Anxiety Attack Symptoms (Panic Attack Symptoms), Symptoms of Anxiety. Retrieved March 3, 2009, from Anxiety Centre Web site: http://www.anxietycentre.com/anxiety-symptoms.shtml
  4. Helpguide Web site. Useful information about anxiety. http://www.helpguide.org/mental/anxiety_types_symptoms_treatment.html
  5. Mental Health Information. Readable, up-to-date and research-based information about mental health problems from the Royal College of Psychiatrists. www.rcpsych.ac.uk/mentalhealthinfo.aspx. Accessed June 16, 2011.
  6. National Institute of Mental Health. Retrieved September 3, 2008, from http://www.NIMH.NIH.gov
  7. Smith, M. (2008, June). Anxiety attacks and disorders: Guide to the signs, symptoms, and treatment options. Retrieved March 3, 2009, from Helpguide Web site: http://www.helpguide.org/mental/anxiety_types_symptoms_treatment.html

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark Agius
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of Cambridge, South Essex Partnership University Foundation Trust, Weller Wing Bedford HospitalBedfordUK