The Anatomy of Anxiety

In many ways, anxiety is a healthy response to an external stimulus. We should be in a heightened or aroused state when we give a speech, fly in a plane during times of intense turbulence, or encounter a potential threat from a neighbor’s Rottweiler who has broken lose from their yard. Typically, when the stressful event is over, we expect to return back to physiological balance…and most of us do. Anxiety becomes a problem when it spills over into our everyday lives. For a person with an anxiety disorder normal tasks like going to the grocery store or even leaving the house can feel like an insurmountable challenge. For those who suffer from constant fear, worry, or panic, normal situations in their external environmental can be perceived to be as threatening as facing off with a grizzly bear. With clinical anxiety, the person’s body is actually producing the same physiologic chemical reaction as if they were in a very dangerous encounter with a hungry animal. The reality though, is that there is no real threat. […]