Anxiety is characterized by worry, fear, and apprehension. It can include physical feelings like heart palpitations, nausea, chest pain, shortness of breath, stomachaches, headaches, increased blood pressure, sweating, and pupil dilation. Anxiety can bring on a sense of dread, panic, and chills.
Anxiety is different than fear because it’s source is unclear. When a person is afraid, they know what they are afraid of. Anxiety can be triggered by an obviously fearful event or memory, but the intensity of the feelings seems beyond a regular fearful reaction. Anxiety may be a signal that some area of a person's mental and emotional life is, or was, overburdened.
Treating Anxiety Through Therapy
Psychoanalytic therapy treats anxiety by helping people understand their anxiety and where it comes from. Precise knowledge about an individual’s anxiety is then used to develop new strategies for how to handle it. New mental and emotional resources transform the experience of anxiety into a source of strength and self-knowledge. It becomes a type of mental energy that can be used rather than avoided.