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Anxiety

Understand and Prevent Anxiety Course

15. Can a medical illness or a drug reaction make me anxious?

It is important always to keep in mind that medical abnormalities can present as anxiety disorders. This principle proves critical to establishing the correct diagnosis. Much as a patient with physical symptoms may feel his problem is not psychiatric, so, too, can a patient with anxiety and worry not feel that her problems could be medical?

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16. What is the relationship between anxiety and memory?

Many patients cannot consciously remember the trauma(s) that they have suffered. This disconnection between events and memory can apply to an overwhelming trauma experienced in childhood that they could reconstruct only by hearing from their family details of the story that they had consciously forgotten.

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17. What is the history of anxiety?

As you might imagine, mankind has been anxious as long as mankind has been in existence. The actual word anxiety has as its root angst, German for fear. The word panic stems from the Greek myth of Pan, the god of fertility and the fields who struck intense, irrational fear into the hearts of travelers in desolate areas.

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18. Why is there such a stigma toward mental illness in general and toward anxiety in particular?

People suffering from anxiety often fear they will be stigmatized, as do many with a wide range of mental experiences. Patients commonly feel they are weak for not being better able to manage their anxiety, as if they had conscious control over their anxiety at those overwhelming times.

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19. How is anxiety useful from an evolutionary perspective?

In their book, Why We Get Sick, Drs. Randolph Neese and George Williams address the question of anxiety’s greater evolutionary purpose. As discussed earlier, the anxiety system serves as a fight-or-flight system, designed for our protection.

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