Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Difference Between Fear and Anxiety

Difference Between Fear and Anxiety

fearFear vs Anxiety

Throughout our lives, we experience a variety of different circumstances and situations that result in us experiencing different emotions. Some situations make us experience positive feelings and emotions, such as joy and excitement. At other times, we experience situations and circumstances that bring about feelings of loneliness, loss, sadness, fear and anxiety. Although we eventually recover from these negative emotions, the effects that these situations and circumstances have on us can be so profound that they eventually affect us later on in our lives.

Fear and anxiety often cause very similar symptoms, such as muscle tension, increased heart rate and shortness of breath brought about by the body's flight-or-fight instinct. It is no surprise, then, that for many of us, fear and anxiety pretty much mean the same thing. But where psychologists are concerned, fear and anxiety are two completely different disorders that require different treatment.

Fear is referred to as an emotional response to a situation in which an individual feels threatened. The cause of the threat is realistic in nature. Oftentimes, fear of a particular situation or event is caused by a traumatic event experienced earlier in life. The effects of this traumatic event are carried by the individual throughout his or her life to such an extent that when the individual finds himself or herself in a similar situation, he or she begins to exhibit the symptoms mentioned above.

On the other hand, anxiety is considered to be a psychological disorder where the individual experiences symptoms similar to those experienced by those who face fear-inducing situations or circumstances. The difference between anxiety and fear is that, unlike fear, symptoms leading to anxiety occur even though there is no apparent risk or cause for physical harm. More often than not, the reason the individual feels anxious cannot be pinpointed. This is in stark contrast to fear, where the individual can readily determine the root cause of their fear. Those who suffer from anxiety find themselves helpless and unable to cope with their symptoms to such an extent that that it begins to interfere with their daily activities and interactions with other people. Anxiety is often one of the primary causes of other psychological disorders, such as depression and personality disorders.

Fear, on the other hand, can often cause the individual to become empowered to deal with and overcome this. Because they are able to determine the root cause of their fear, they are able to look into options that will help them overcome their fears and be able to live a normal life.

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