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Prof. Ana Nikčević

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Ana is an Associate Fellow and Chartered Psychologist with the British Psychological Society, and an Accredited Cognitive Behaviour Therapy Practitioner, with extensive clinical an...

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What is anxiety?

Anxiety is an emotional state characterised by apprehension and certainty and fear in relation to a perceived threat. It is a normal adaptive experience. It is adaptive because it increases our alertness and focus and helps us prepare for a challenging situation. For example, an important presentation at work. When these feelings of apprehension and nervousness become a relatively permanent state and frequently triggered and intense and starts to interfere with our daily functioning, going to work, or to school, or taking part in social activities, that's when we refer to that emotional state as clinical anxiety. So the transition from adaptive and normal to clinical anxiety is essentially determined by the extent to which such emotional state interferes and prevents us from living the life that we want to lead.

What are the symptoms of anxiety?

Symptoms of anxiety are both physical and cognitive. Physical symptom of anxiety include palpitations, increased heart rate, sweating, dry mouth. There could be muscle tension in chronic status of anxiety. People report gastrointestinal problems like upset stomach or nausea, difficulty sleeping, they say can't fall asleep or can't keep asleep. The cognitive symptoms of anxiety include apprehension, sense of a knees. They could be intrusive and upsetting thoughts, and also persistent worries. Some people report feelings of derealization as if somehow the world around them doesn't feel real. The dominant symptoms will vary between different people, so for some people, anxiety symptoms will be more mental or cognitive. In other people, they will be more physical. Let's say stomach upsets.

What are some of the different types of anxiety?

When feelings of anxiety are intense, frequently triggered, and start to interfere with our ability to go about our everyday life, we refer to those emotional states as clinical anxiety or anxiety disorders. Anxiety disorders is an umbrella term under which we have specific anxiety disorders such as phobias, panic disorder, agoraphobia, social anxiety disorder, and generalised anxiety disorder.

What does anxiety feel like?

In what way is anxiety linked to trauma?