Anxiety Disorders: Introduction

Fear:

Fear is an emotional response to perceived imminent threat or danger associated with urges to flee or fight.

Anxiety:

Anxiety is an apprehensive anticipation of future danger or misfortune accompained by a feeling of worry, distress and/or somatic symptoms of tension.

***Fear & Anxiety are adaptive responses to the environment. But if the anxiety persists for a long time, is repetitive & of higher intensity, then it is classified as Pathological Dysfunctional Anxiety.

Some Important Terms:

1. Behavioural Inhibition:

Behavioural Inhibition is a heritable trait characterized by restraint, caution, fearfulness & withdrawl in response to unfamilar people, stimuli or situations.

Approximately 15-20% of young children are born with marked Behavioural Inhibition.

Behavioural inhibited children are at increased risk of anxiety disorders, particularly social anxiety disorder in adulthood.

2. Anxiety sensitivity:

Anxiety sensitivity is a fear of anxiety related sensations, based on the belief that such sensations are harmful.

It acts as anxiety amplifier as it worsens anxiety in affected individuals.

Individuals with Anxiety Sensitivity are at increased risk of developing Panic Disorders.

3. Neuroticism:

Neuroticism is a personality trait which predispose individuals to higher negative affect.

Individuals with Neuroticism are at increased risk of developing Anxiety Disorder & Depression later in life.

***Screening for the above three risk markers can act as a preventive measure for developing anxiety disorders later in life.

Reference:

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