The meaning of the words: anxiety or anxiety?

January 11, 2018Health Standard

“I am anxious”, “He looks anxious”: in common parlance, we use indifferently the first term or second. But they cover very different realities. Problem punctual but very intense on one side, more diffuse but constant on the other, the suffering is not the same. Definitions and clarifications with Christophe Andr√©, psychiatrist.

Both phenomena have points in common.
Both phenomena have points in common.
First of all, the same etymological root, the Latin word angere, which means to tighten and which refers to the physical consequences of these mental states. The affiliation to the same emotional family then, that of fear: anxiety and anxiety are the anticipation (we fear a danger before it occurs) or may be the consequence (as a result of a psychological shock by example). But there are a number of differences that separate them as well.

In general, we speak of anguish to refer to a punctual, destabilizing and intense psychological experience, made of a feeling of loss of control and the imminence of a serious danger. Anxiety is most often accompanied by painful physical signs: chest tightness and breathing difficulty, cardiac acceleration, ball sensations in the throat and stomach … At the height of an anxiety attack, it is not rare that one can experience a feeling of “derealization”, an impression of going out of oneself, of not being quite in reality anymore. In psychiatry, the attacks of panic, felt especially by the agoraphobic people, represent a rather pure example: suddenly, the person feels invaded by an uncontrollable physical discomfort,

The term “anxiety” you can read more about anxiety here¬† is more readily used to designate a less destabilizing but more chronic state, consisting of a problem that is difficult to control. The psychological aspects (anxiety, pessimism) are in the foreground, even if the physical consequences of the anxiety are well known (tensions and muscular pains, tendency to hyperventilate, that is to say to adopt a high, fast breathing and superficial). While anxiety usually makes it impossible to continue one’s activities, anxiety remains compatible with everyday life. It is even common that the anxious person is not clearly aware of his own anxiety, which can only manifest itself indirectly: irritability, fatigue, muscle tension, startle reactions … In psychiatry,

Anxiety and anxiety can be differentiated, but can also be associated: anxiety attacks can occur on a background of anxiety (what Freud called the “anxiety neurosis“), we can feel the anxiety to have new anxiety attacks (it’s “fear of being scared”), etc. Finally, and contrary to what one could say, neither anguish nor anxiety is a “fear without object”: one can feel anguish while thinking about his death or that of the people that the We love, we can be anxious and worried about real difficulties such as illness or financial problems. They are simply worried about the future, acute (anxiety) or chronic (anxiety), and always reflect the feeling, more or less conscious and justified, of its own fragility.