APM Blog

What is Anxiety?

16 Nov

The Medical Dictionary defines anxiety as “a painful or apprehensive uneasiness of mind, usually over an impending or anticipated ill.” This definition would suggest that anxiety seems to be a normal part of being human. All of us have worried about things like our finances, our health, or the well-being of those closest to us. Anxiety is even a healthy emotion, because it motivates us to plan for our future and, take care of ourselves. For example, without some anxiety, we might not pay our bills on time, watch what we eat or install smoke detectors.

So how can anxiety be a problem? There is a fine line between healthy and unhealthy anxiety. In general, anxiety can be unhealthy when it comes from irrational worries or fears about events that are unlikely to occur. For example, those who suffer from an anxiety condition called panic disorder may believe a sudden change in their heart rate is a sign they are about to have a heart attack. Individuals who have a generalized anxiety disorder might worry about not being able to pay their bills even though they have plenty of savings and have no debt. Anxiety is also unhealthy when it leads an individual to avoid activities, places, or people unnecessarily. Among those with chronic pain, for example, anxiety about causing injury or harm to the body is one of the biggest obstacles in the way of patients getting more physical activity.  Finally, anxiety that seems to increase your pain consistently, causes you to lose sleep, or causes you other physical symptoms; it is likely you are dealing with anxiety of the unhealthy kind.

So what do I do about anxiety? Although there are various types of anxiety problems, treatments for each type share some common elements. Simply put, treatments involve making changes in three areas: changes in physical experiences, changes in behavior and changes in thoughts. Making changes in physical experience might include learning how to relax and learning how to tell the difference between tense and relaxed muscles. Changes in behavior could include challenging oneself to confront those things that are typically avoided: e.g. increasing physical activity despite fears that to do so would cause damage to the body. Finally, making changes in thought involves looking at the ways in which we think of events. By keeping a record of thoughts that occur along with anxiety, for example, one can detect ways in we might exaggerate potential dangers.  

Last modified on Wednesday, 22 November 2017 08:13

Leave a comment

Make sure you enter all the required information, indicated by an asterisk (*). HTML code is not allowed.

Popular Posts


Advanced Pain Management Near You

Our diverse physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants provide patients with the most comprehensive approach to pain management. We have convenient locations across Wisconsin and Minnesota including Appleton, Green Bay, Kenosha, Madison, Mankato, Milwaukee, Racine, Sheboygan, Waukesha, Wausau and many more.

© 2020 Advanced Pain Management. All Rights Reserved. Terms of Use & Notice of Privacy Practices