At the most basic level, anxiety is an emotion. Simply stated, an emotion is a subjective state of being. It is often associated with changes in feelings, behaviors, thoughts, and physiology. Anxiety, like all emotional states, can be experienced in varying degrees of intensity. For instance, we might say we are happy. A more intense expression of this same emotion might be an experience of joy. But unlike the emotion "happiness," which has several different words to convey these differing levels of intensity (e.g., intensity ranging from happiness to joy), anxiety is a single word that represents a broad range of emotional intensity. At the low end of the intensity range, anxiety is normal and adaptive. At the high end of the intensity range, anxiety can become pathological and maladaptive. While everyone experiences anxiety, not everyone experiences the emotion of anxiety with the same intensity, frequency, or duration as someone who has an anxiety disorder. Let's look more closely at some of the differences between the normal emotion of anxiety, and anxiety as a disorder.
Mark the one that applies to you in the last 30 days.