How do fear and respect differ?

Anxiety and anxiety disorders

Anxiety Disorders - In Brief

  • Fear triggers alarm reactions. They have been anchored in us since time immemorial - for self-protection and to survive.
  • Anxiety disorders are understood to be pathologically exaggerated, diverse fears: without external danger, but with images of their own dangers as part of complex inner-soul stories.
  • Unconsciously developed or learned behavioral patterns such as avoidance behavior - reinforced by certain life experiences and personality factors, shaken by drastic events - these are just some of the possible conditions for development.
  • Anxiety disorders often cause massive physical and psychological complaints, high levels of suffering and paralysis in everyday life.
  • However, a complete lack of fear is also considered pathological.

Fear is a primordial human feeling sometimes life-saving. The basic emotion helps us recognize danger and respond to it. She urges us to be careful and pay more attention. Well-founded fear gives us the necessary energies to act decisively, to take protective measures or to accept challenges and to mobilize our forces.

Our ancestors responded to threats with flight or attack. The body reactions accompanying the fear helped them: The muscles tense, the heart beats faster, stress hormones are released. Body and mind are highly concentrated and ready to perform. After the danger has been overcome, the stress phase subsides and relaxation sets in.

In modern life we ​​are constantly faced with situations that can trigger fears: worries about people we love, about loss of money or jobs, illnesses, roads as smooth as glass in winter, exams, conversations with superiors, air travel, dental appointments. Some situations are perceived as a threat, although objectively they do not pose an immediate danger, such as a visit to the dentist.

Life crises and serious illnesses often trigger legitimate fears, which for a short time get out of hand and paralyze those affected, but then usually lead to coping actions. Some people need therapeutic help for this, but find their way back into their balanced emotional state after overcoming the crisis.

However, as soon as fears put a permanent strain on the emotional world, dominate everyday life and limit one's own ability to act, it is time to get to the bottom of them. You may be showing signs of a serious An anxiety disorder or some other mental health problem. Morbid fears often also encompass normal life situations. They do not enable concentrated activity, but block.

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Everyone has one different levels of anxiety. This can range from a queasy feeling to violent waves of fear with significant physical discomfort. One of them gets into the plane calmly and is even happy when the plane takes off into the blue sky. The other survives the flight only with tranquilizers or avoids the journey above the clouds if possible. The same applies to a visit to the dentist. There are now practices that specialize in treating people who fear the dentist too much.

Where is the line between normal and pathological fear?

The fear of flying or the dentist, for example, relates to a specific situation. It can also take hold of people who otherwise go through life courageously and confidently. Such fears are annoying and in some areas of life extremely obstructive, but they can often be brought under control with targeted measures. But they can also be part of a deeper anxiety disorder.

Other feelings of fear are not so clearly attributable to those affected. Overall, some people react more anxiously to a wide variety of stressful situations and challenges. But you can still deal with it, calm yourself down or encourage yourself.

How are pathological fears expressed?

  • Situational or out of the blue: anxiety attacks, panic attacks

People who suffer from panic disorder experience real anxiety attacks. These can break out again and again in certain situations (crowds, invitations), in certain places (free spaces, bridges, elevators), in certain encounters (spiders, dogs). You are then with one