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anticipatory tension or vague dread persisting in the absence of a specific threat. In contrast to fear, which is a realistic reaction to actual danger, anxiety is generally related to an unconscious threat. Physiological symptoms of anxiety include increases in pulse rate and blood pressure, accelerated breathing rates, perspiration, muscular tension, dryness of the mouth, and diarrhea. Freud postulated that anxiety was a result of repressed, pent-up sexual energy, but later came to view it as a danger signal alerting the ego to excessive stimulation and causing repression. Anxiety disorders include observable, overt anxiety, as well as phobias and other conditions where a defense mechanismdefense mechanism,
in psychoanalysis, any of a variety of unconscious personality reactions which the ego uses to protect the conscious mind from threatening feelings and perceptions.
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 has been set up to disguise the anxiety from both the sufferer and the observer. In generalized anxiety, the individual experiences long-term anxiety with no explanation for its cause; such a condition may be called free-floating, since it is not linked to a specific stimulus. Panic disorder involves sudden anxiety attacks which are manifested in heart palpitations, shortness of breath, or fainting. The individual with a phobic disorder can identify the stimulus that causes anxiety: such stimuli as enclosed space, heights, and crowds become imbued with greatly exaggerated anxiety and are carefully avoided by the phobic individual. Obsessive-compulsive disorders (OCD) are characterized by obsessions (mental quandries) and compulsions (physical actions) that engage the individual excessively. Extreme anxiety may be experienced if the person does not carry out the compulsion or attempts to ignore the obsession. Post-traumatic stress disorderpost-traumatic stress disorder
(PTSD), mental disorder that follows an occurrence of extreme psychological stress, such as that encountered in war or resulting from violence, childhood abuse, sexual abuse, or serious accident.
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 occurs when an individual has recurrent dreams, flashbacks, or panic attacks after a particularly traumatic experience.


See D. F. Klein, Anxiety (1987); D. H. Barlow, Anxiety and Its Disorders (1988); S. J. Rachman, Fear and Courage (1990).

What does it mean when you dream about anxiety?

Worries, fears, and apprehension that may have been discounted or banished from one’s mind often find expression in dreams of anxiety.


A physiological and mental state of apprehension and fear of something unknown to the conscious.


Psychol a state of intense apprehension or worry often accompanied by physical symptoms such as shaking, intense feelings in the gut, etc., common in mental illness or after a very distressing experience


Experiencing much anxiety in your dream state may be related to your current difficulties and everyday life. Gaps may exist between the way things are and the way you would like them to be. Older interpretation books suggest that when you dream about anxiety, the contrary is true and that your worries will be lessened. However, always keep the compensatory nature of dreams in mind. If you are not feeling anxiety during the day, it could be that you are ignoring it and that it will appear in your dream. Therefore, look at the details of your dream and attempt to identify the anxiety-provoking situations in your daily life.
References in classic literature ?
They will become anxious, and will be looking for us.
We didn't know; we wanted to hear; and the Captains' wives were as anxious as we.
Miss Carteret was very anxious to have a general idea of what was next to be sung.
said the general with annoyance, and apparently not in the least anxious to conceal it.
Officers who approached him with disturbed countenances became calm; soldiers and officers greeted him gaily, grew more cheerful in his presence, and were evidently anxious to display their courage before him.
I wonder if hot sunshine is liable to crack pumpkins," said Jack, with an anxious ring in his voice.
The owner forgot his seasickness long enough to look anxious.
The enviable man who is married to You anxious and out of spirits?
So he went into the palace to get the ornament which was the transformation of the Tin Woodman, and they all awaited his return with considerable impatience, for they were anxious to leave this underground cavern and see the sunshine once more.
The prince was anxious to miss nothing of which he would be asked at home, had he seen that in Russia?
I believe that she is really very anxious that her presence in London, just now should not be generally known.
He had stopped in London on his way from Hampshire, had seen his solicitor, had read the documents forwarded by me, and had travelled on to Cumberland, anxious to satisfy our minds by the speediest and the fullest explanation that words could convey.