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Anxiety: Normal or Pathological?

Anxiety: Normal or Pathological?


We all have a degree of anxiety or introversion and when it manifests it is usually accompanied by a situation of malaise.

Anxiety can motivate and help maintain concentration and ability to work when we are under pressure. But when fear, worry or physical suffering starts to take over, then we may have an anxiety problem.

1.What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is a common experience for any human being and in many cases it is an adaptive and positive response to various life events. Objective manifestations are not specific and are usually associated with different emotional states, such as fear, expectation, among others. At levels considered normal, it is an emotional state with physiological and psychological components, transversal to the human being and motivating behavior

Three factors are considered when distinguishing between normal anxietyand pathological anxiety: anxiety level, context for anxiety and negative consequences, that is: intensity, duration, frequency and interference with which symptoms occur are relevant information to diagnose this clinical picture.

Anxiety becomes pathological when there is no specific object to target or when it is disproportionate to the triggering situation.

The concept of anxiety is not consensual, especially in a psychopathological context. Anxiety can be generalized or manifest in specific situations, such as phobic disorders. It can be a punctual state or a persistent feature of the individual’s personality.

2. Signs and Symptoms

Anxiety can appear in the form of several signs and symptoms that can be divided into four components:

    • Physical reactions:
    1. tachycardia (increased heart rate)
    2. hypertension (high blood pressure)
    3. gastric contraction (stomach knot feeling)
    4. breathing difficulties (shortness of breath)
    5. dry mouth
    6. sweating (excessive sweating)
    7. nausea or vomiting
    8. diarrhea
    9. headache
    10. tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
    11. dizziness or dizziness
    12. back pains
    13. feeling of increased temperature (hyperthermia or “emotional fever”)
    14. overactive bladder (neuromuscular disorder that causes, several times a day, an instant and uncontrollable urge to urinate)
    15. psoriasis (chronic skin disease that can cause, for example, skin blemishes)
    16. alopecia (hair loss or even the so-called “naked”)
    17. loss or increase in appetite
    18. weight loss or gain
    19. changes in the menstrual cycle
    20. brittle nails
    21. (….)
    • Behavioral reactions:
    1. tremors
    2. blockage or stoppage
    3. alert state
    4. irritability
    5. jaw tension
    6. voice tone changes
    7. motor hyperactivity (eg, walking from side to side)
    8. nail biting
    9. (…)
    • Cognitive reactions (changes in the way it processes information):
    1. excessive/obsessive worry
    2. negative intrusive thoughts
    3. attention and concentration difficulties
    4. insomnia (sleep disturbances such as difficulty falling asleep or waking up several times during the night)
    5. memory changes
    6. want to cry
    7. greater focus on the negative than the positive (widespread pessimism)
    8. (…)
    • Social reactions:
    1. difficulties in starting or maintaining a conversation
    2. difficulty in saying “no” or in showing disagreement/dislike
    3. excessive concern for the opinion of others
    4. avoidance or attempt to constantly go unnoticed
    5. (…)

The more symptoms the person presents, and the more frequent and intense they are, the more severe the problem becomes, which can lead to serious complications, both physical and psychological.


There is constant alertness, increased alertness, exploration of the environment, increased response to stimuli (startles), sleep disturbances (not due to restlessness or worry), altered heart rate, respiratory hyperventilation, tremors, pain (no cause known).

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), anxiety is one of the main mental health problems worldwide. Virtually all of us have experienced or will experience anxiety. This is a common issue, but to which we must pay special attention.

Do not ignore this problem, even if it is not directly with you.Always count on us.


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