1.1. Definition: Normal and pathologic anxiety
1.2. Types of anxiety
Anxiety (like any other emotion), involves at least three components or response systems:
Physical anxiety (physiological-somatic)
The experience of anxiety is accompanied by a biological component. The most typical physiological changes consist of an increase in the activity of the autonomic nervous system, which can be reflected both externally (sweating, pupil dilation, tremor, facial pallor, etc.) and internally (heart rate acceleration, decreased salivation, accelerated breathing, etc.).
Cognitive-emotional (or subjective) anxiety
This component of anxiety is related to the person’s own internal experience. For example, experiences of fear, panic, alarm, restlessness, worry, apprehension, obsessions, etc.
Behavioural (or motor) anxiety
This is the observable component that, apart from involving variables such as facial expression and body movements or postures, mainly refers to escape (flight/escape) and avoidance responses. For example, when a person experiences anxiety about having to go out and speak in public, he/she may avoid doing so and thus escape from the situation that causes him/her discomfort.
1.3. Social anxiety. Symptoms
1.4. Early and warning signs for seeking help
If you notice that lately you are feeling more frequent and more intense the following symptoms:
Feelings of nervousness, agitation or tension, sense of imminent danger panic or catastrophe, increased heart rate, rapid breathing (hyperventilation), sweating, trembling, feelings of weakness or tiredness, problems concentrating, problems falling asleep, gastrointestinal problems, difficulties controlling worries and the need to avoid situations that generate anxiety, among others.
Then, use some strategy to cope with it or contact a mental health professional (psychologist and/or psychiatrist) to find a solution as soon as possible. Mental health is important as it is physical health.