Anxiety is a term widely used to indicate a complex of cognitive, behavioral and physiological reactions that occur following the perception of a stimulus considered threatening and against which we do not consider ourselves sufficiently capable of reacting.
Anxiety by itself, however, is not an abnormal phenomenon. It is a basic emotion, which involves a state of activation of the organism when a situation is perceived subjectively as dangerous. There are different Types of anxiety disorders and symptoms also.
- Cognitive symptoms of anxiety
- From the cognitive point of view the typical symptoms of anxiety are:
- the sense of mental emptiness
- a growing sense of alarm and danger
- induction of images, memories and negative thoughts
- the implementation of cognitive protective behaviors
- the marked feeling of being observed and being the center of attention of others.
- Behavioral symptoms of anxiety
In the human species, anxiety translates into an immediate tendency to explore the environment, in the search for explanations, reassurances and escape routes. The main instinctive anxiety management strategy is also the avoidance of the feared situation (“better safe than sorry” strategy – “better prevention than cure”).
Protective behaviors (being accompanied, taking anxiolytics as needed, etc.), unassertive and submission are also frequent.
Physical symptoms of anxiety
Furthermore, anxiety is often accompanied by physical and physiological manifestations such as:
- increase in heart rate
- pins and needles at the ends and around the mouth
- de-realization and depersonalization.
Below we will better describe some physical symptoms of anxiety, how they occur and what are the possible consequences:
It is necessary, as far as possible, to distinguish different conditions related to palpitations: heart failure, tachycardia and arrhythmia.
The latter, for example, often occurs with irregular heartbeats even in healthy people, during their daily activities and is more likely to occur when the person is anxious.
It can be induced by a number of agents such as nicotine, caffeine, alcohol and electrolyte imbalance.
Often the interpretation given to this physical symptom during an anxious state is linked to the idea of having a heart attack. This even if at the base there is an increased electrophysiological excitability of the heart muscle that has no negative consequences from the medical point of view.
It is a physical symptom that can occur during periods of high anxiety in the absence of a heart disorder.
It can therefore derive from different sources such as thoracic breathing and gastrointestinal disorders (e.g. esophageal reflux or esophageal spasms). When the person catastrophically interprets the benign causes of pain, it is possible that the anxious state increases, even leading to panic.
But we actually know that when a very high anxiety state emerges, the body secretes adrenaline which causes an increase in heart rate and the body works faster. It is an evolutionary way to better prepare the person to manage dangerous situations.
If adrenaline were to damage the heart, how could humans have survived to this day? Therefore, the acceleration of the heart rate due to anxiety states does not cause heart attacks there must be something pathological for this to happen.