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Anxiety is not a bad thing – in its healthiest form,it serves as a signal that action needs to be taken.

For example, if we are feeling anxious about an upcoming test, it motivates us to study. The more prepared we feel for the test, the less anxious we become. Many people, however, feel anxious without having a specific situation to attach to it. This is called Generalized Anxiety. Along with feeling great amounts of anxiety and worry, individuals with Generalized Anxiety Disorder may also feel restless, on edge, irritable, tense, have difficulty with their concentration become easily fatigues or have poor sleep. Often, there is a running dialog of “what if” in a person’s mind.

There are times when the anxiety becomes so great that it creates a panic attack. A panic attack typically reaches its peaks within minutes but during that time, it can range from feeling unpleasant to frightening. Typical symptoms of a panic attack include an accelerated heart rate, sweating, trembling or shaking, a sense of it being difficult to breath, chest pain/discomfort, feelings of choking, feeling dizzy/unsteady/light-headed/faint, nausea or abdominal distress, chills or heat sensations, numbness or tingling, fear of dying or losing control or “going crazy” feelings of being detached from oneself or feelings of unreality. Many people end up in an ER when experiencing their first panic attack, as it often feels like they are having a heart attack.

Other ways anxiety can show up is socially. Social Anxiety Disorder is when there is great concern over the possibility of being judged by others in social situations. It includes situations such as meeting unfamiliar people, having a conversation, or being observed (such as eating or drinking). Fears may include being seen as weak, crazy stupid, boring, unlikable, or anxious. A great deal of time is often spent worrying about showing anxiety symptoms, such as blushing, having a shaky voice, sweating, staring, or stumbling over words. People with social anxiety often find themselves dreading events long before they take place and/or avoiding them altogether.

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