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Anxiety

Understand and Prevent Anxiety Course

Contents of the course

1. Introduction

2. The Basic Information about Anxiety

3. Faces of Anxiety

4. Forms of anxiety

5. Treatment of Anxiety

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1. Introduction

So many of us are so anxious talking about anxiety! We often feel that in sharing some of our deeper thoughts or feelings, we might risk losing the love, affection, or esteem of those we depend on. Or we fear that we might feel a depth of discomfort that we might not otherwise have the tools to handle.

Thus, like so many friends, family, colleagues, and fellow citizens, we tell ourselves to shut up and repackage those disturbing, seemingly forbidden thoughts and feelings back into some corner recess of our minds – hopefully forever. All too soon, these threatening thoughts and feelings return to the surface, and that uncomfortable anxiety rears its unwanted head again.

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2. What is anxiety?

We all have to make sense of what any given anxious moment may or may not mean. I go about this process in my office by taking the “anxiety temperature,” as if on a thermometer. I visualize this instrument as being a basic warning scale that human beings use as part of our “fight-or-flight” survival response to any potentially life-threatening situation. For example, if someone has a very high anxiety temperature, he perceives himself to be in real danger regardless of the actual circumstances.

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3. What is the general philosophy of the course?

Over the centuries much has been written on anxiety from many wide-ranging disciplines, including, but not limited to history, literature, biology, sociology, philosophy, and religion. All perspectives have attempted to wrestle with the question of anxiety, a basic question of existence. This course provides some person’s cumulative experience treating and attempting to understand anxiety. In addition, this texts aims to help you understand more about anxiety by sharing what I and my colleagues have found to be both common and helpful working with and puzzling over anxiety. I cannot claim more of the truth than any other discipline, but I do hope to provide a sense of what goes through our minds in our offices when we attempt to help a patient with anxiety.

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4. What is the difference between anxiety and fear?

The difference between anxiety and fear is an important distinction. Anxiety serves as the body’s warning system - the brain’s way of telling the body that something bad could happen. This response relates to but is distinct from fear, which alarms us when something actually dangerous is happening or is just about to happen. For example, if you become scared that you will lose your spouse from medical illness in anticipation of his routine medical checkup, in the absence of any known medical condition, this reaction would be considered anxiety about losing your spouse.

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