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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 ?
However, Item 3 ("The only time that I feel comfortable during statistics tests is when I have had a lot of time to study") and Item 4 ("I feel anxious if a statistics class seems disorganized") had small structure coefficients of.
In the first part, normal anxiety, anxiety disorders, and the personality traits of anxious children are discussed.
Anxious students can internally interpret almost any kind of feedback as negative without their teachers' awareness.
Sally Quinn, renowned Georgetown socialite and Washington Post reporter, could very well be the leading candidate for the title of "most anxious woman in America." New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd is running a close second.
Over Anxious, who is expected to have a big future as a novice chaser this season, and Eurotrek, a Newbury hurdle winner last term, have both moved from Robert Alner, who saddled the Green-owned Honey Mount to land the Kim Muir at the 2000 Cheltenham Festival.
The Japanese are feeling more anxious about their security these days and about 46% think Japan is unsafe, suggesting that Japan's image as a safe country is starting to change, according to survey results reported Tuesday by a Japanese daily.
There will be anxious times as plants are closed, jobs are lost and contracts for sales are cancelled.
Researchers at Queen Charlotte's and Chelsea Hospital in London learned that women who are anxious during pregnancy have lower birthweight babies because blood flow to the uterus is impaired.
The anxious owners couldn't find Eloise, and so "left their windows open all night lest she fly back home." (Now we know what cockatielaphilia is.)
An unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord.
Anxious Masculinity in Early Modern England concludes with an interesting (but inadequate) discussion of the text that has haunted - even impelled it - from the beginning, Othello.
and they're "natural." If you're feeling a little stressed, anxious, or depressed, what's wrong with leaning on them to help you make it through the day?