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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).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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.

The Dream Encyclopedia, Second Edition © 2009 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.


A physiological and mental state of apprehension and fear of something unknown to the conscious.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


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
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


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.
Bedside Dream Dictionary by Silvana Amar Copyright © 2007 by Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
Antidepressant and antianxiety medication change should be anticipated in the first 3-6 months after SG.
Out of total antianxiety drugs prescribed, majority were benzodiazepines, which is consistent with that reported in previous studies.
"You should always have your dog examined by your veterinarian in order to rule out any physical condition that might be causing the anxiety or might complicate the use of an antianxiety drug," stresses Dr.
No significant compensatory increase was found in the use of antianxiety or antidepressant agents, Dr.
But, interestingly, no significant compensatory increase was found in the use of antianxiety or antidepressant agents.
Techniques such as hypnosis have proven helpful, along with selective use of antianxiety and antidepressant medications for comorbid conditions.
Simple precautions can help prevent them: fallproof your environment by removing or securing tripping hazards such as rugs, install nightlights in dark areas, get your vision regularly checked and ask your doctor to review any reeds you take that may increase your risk of falls, such as psychotropic medications (antidepressants, antianxiety drugs) or antihypertensives.
The results of the present study demonstrate that chamomile has a mild antianxiety effect in patients with generalized anxiety disorder.
In extreme situations, a veterinarian may prescribe antianxiety medications or tranquilizers while fireworks are being used.
LeVin's lawyer, Michael Norris, said he had received substance abuse counselling in Florida, but he objected to demands that he stop taking antianxiety drug Xanax.
At that point, I went to rehabilitation, stopped taking these drugs, and went to a new psychiatrist who prescribed antidepressants and antianxiety medications.
* Benzodiazepines, such as diazepam (Valium), alprazolam (Xanax), lorazepam (Ativan), clonazepam (Klonopin), and other antianxiety medications