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Feeling anxiety is normal and expected as it is a natural reaction to signs that indicate that a threatening situation is approaching. Just like fear, which prepares the individual to face or escape danger, anxiety plays an important role of preservation in our lives.

But in some cases the anxiety experienced is so intense that it impairs functioning or causes significant distress. In these cases we can say that anxiety has become pathological, characterizing an Anxiety Disorder.
Symptoms can be divided into: subjective symptoms, referring to the perception of uncomfortable sensations such as anguish, restlessness, excessive worries, fear or dread; and physical symptoms referring to bodily sensations such as chest tightness, palpitation, shortness of breath, nausea, abdominal cramps, excessive sweating, dizziness, tremors, chills or tingling.
These diagnoses make up what we call Anxiety Disorders: 

   •    Specific Phobia: the person experiences severe fear or anxiety about a specific object or situation, making efforts to avoid them (e.g.: flying, heights, animals, injections, blood and injuries);

   •    Social Anxiety Disorder (social phobia): the person experiences marked fear or anxiety about social situations in which there is the possibility of exposing themselves to the evaluation of other people, making efforts to avoid them;

   •    Panic Disorder: the person suffers recurring and unexpected panic attacks, without identifying what triggers the crisis. The most common symptoms during the attack are: tightness or pain in the chest, palpitations, shortness of breath or a feeling of suffocation, dizziness and tingling. It is common for individuals to feel very afraid of dying, losing control or going crazy. Persistent concerns arise about new panic attacks or 'maladaptive' changes in behavior related to the attacks (e.g. avoiding places where you suffered panic attacks, avoiding places with lots of people, not leaving home unaccompanied, etc.);
   •    Generalized Anxiety Disorder: the person finds themselves constantly anxious, with excessive, frequent and difficult to control worries about various everyday issues. Physical and emotional symptoms such as restlessness, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, irritability, muscle tension and sleep disturbances are observed.

If you identify yourself, or know someone who has any of these disorders, seek help.

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