Anxiety can be defined as a heightened physical and psychological state wherein individuals often experience a myriad of uncomfortable symptoms such as rapid heart beat, rage, headaches, and hot flashes, brought on by the introduction of increased stress. This stress can be real and threatening, like an impending deadline, or perceived as threatening, like being in a crowded shopping mall. In either case, the individual experiencing the heightened stress and resulting anxiety will often feel the urge to “flee” or remove themselves from the situation in order to alleviate symptoms.
In today’s busy world, many individuals face a steady incline in stress as a result of both real and imagined causes. A great deal of these causes can be directly related to their home, work, and/or social lives. As a result, anxiety has moved from being an isolated event in the lives of a few unlucky individuals, to being an acute and widespread condition of epidemic proportions. For some, simply going through the motions of everyday living is enough to produce anxiety. These people may lack the intrinsic coping mechanisms which allow others to face day to day challenges without fear. Though doctors are still struggling to put a finger on the root physiological causes of anxiety, what they can and do agree on is its staggering rise as a legitimate and viable complaint among modern society and the need for intervention, be it medical or psychological, in order for many people to continue functioning routinely and lead normal, healthy lives.