There is a difference between fear and anxiety. Some of us mistook these two words as having the same meaning, but indeed, they are not. These conditions may occur together, but we can never interchange them. An excellent example that we can have is dental surgery. We can become anxious about how the surgery will go, and we can fear the dentist at the same time. Anxiety focuses on unknown threats, while fear focuses on a known external danger. Let’s keep moving and get some more details about fear and anxiety.
What is Fear? Anxiety?
Anxiety and fear are relative to one another. Both of these mental health conditions can occur at the same time in a situation. But how do we categorize if what we feel is fear or anxiety? Fear? Anxiety? Both of these involve having the idea of danger or potential injury.
Fear is how a person emotionally responds to a known or definite threat. In this case, the danger is absolute, concrete, and immediate. The emotions they feel for fear come from an actual source of trouble or threat. An example of this is getting robbed and pointed with a gun. The source of danger here is valid and actual.
Meanwhile, anxiety is a person’s reaction to an unknown or imaginary threat. Anxiety is associated with the thought that something terrible could happen at certain events. Furthermore, anxiety is related to the emotional interpretation of potential dangers.
The differences are straightforward. These differences clearly state how we need to manage what is present and what could happen in the future. Furthermore, human life has exposure to an environment with potential threats and dangers. Knowing the best way to address these is essential.
Fight or Flight Response
The fight or flight response has something to do with fear. As a fear response, a person tends to become self-focused, and the body is on high alert. Fear often creates a sense of emotion, with the effects of anticipating to fight or flee, linked for survival.
Let’s take incidents from New York as an example. The New York Times stated the incident of Asian-American victims experiencing attacks. These resulted in the development of fear, anxiety, and anger. But then again, what can they possibly do?
In this case, the fight or flight response activates as an acute stress response. The nature of these reactions evolves from the need to survive the threatening situation. However, this response shows physiological effects. Please see them below.
Physiological Stress Response
The following are the physical effects that you will notice as your body’s reaction to stressors. Anxiety often shows these uncomfortable somatic symptoms.
- dilated pupils
- pale or flushed skin
- rapid heart rate
- trembling or shaking
- shortness of breath
- dry mouth
- chest pain
- muscle pain and tension
- upset stomach or nausea
- an emotional feeling of insanity
- sleep difficulties
In actuality, psychological effects come in handy together with these physical effects. For this reason, it would be best to find solutions to address anxiety and fear. There are ways to get help, but the first to help is yourself. You can try things on your own beforehand.
5 Types of Anxiety
Anxiety disorders have various types that every individual may experience differently.
- General Anxiety (GAD): GAD involves chronic anxiety or an exaggeration of worry and tension, but there is little to nothing to provoke it.
- Obsessive-Compulsive (OCD): OCD consists of obsessions or compulsions.
- Panic Disorder: It results from a person’s unexpected and repetitive engagement to intense fear and physical symptoms.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): PTSD involves exposure to a traumatic event associated with severe physical harm.
- Social Phobia: This type of anxiety includes excessive self-consciousness in any social gatherings.
Given these conditions, wouldn’t you want to get over these excessive emotions of anxiety?
Addressing Anxiety and Fear
The following are a few things that you can do to address fear and anxiety. Generally speaking, fear and anxiety are often associated with mental health conditions. They perceived these feelings as related to various anxiety disorders, such as phobias.
Moreover, these mental conditions can affect the way we cope with life. Anxiousness can bring symptoms that can also affect our health, body, and mind. For this reason, treatment is indeed necessary as early as possible. Let us begin with the treatment you can do by yourself.
Self-strategies to Overcome Fear or Anxiety
- Face your fear: Stop avoiding your fears. Face them if you can. This way, you would be able to know how to manage them. It might even lead you to permanently overcoming the source of anxiety.
- Know more about yourself: Know your fears and what makes you feel anxious about them? Record when and what happened.
- Do regular exercises: Make sure to get the sufficient amount of activity you need. Some practices allow you to clear your mind.
- Take time to relax: Your mental and physical aspects require relaxation as well. It would be best to learn some relaxation techniques.
- Observe a healthy diet: Healthy eating is one of the keys to reducing these overflowing anxious feelings.
- Avoid or drink alcohol in moderation: Most of us drink alcohol when we feel nervous and even refer to it as a source of courage. Little did we know that it goes the other way around.
- Keep your faith: The sense of religiousness or spirituality is another way of coping with everyday stress and excessive emotions.
If these strategies don’t work, it will be necessary to seek medical treatment from professionals.
Medical Treatment for Fear and Anxiety
If the options above don’t cause any improvement, you may try getting help from the following.
- Talking therapies, such as counseling
- Search for support groups
Besides that, try opening up with your family. It is normal to feel fear and anxiety. It would be best for you to accept that. You can also call someone you feel comfortable opening yourself up to.
Fear? Anxiety? We can learn how to control these two conditions. We only need the best support system, such as our family members. So, stand up and live your life freely.
The Difference Between Fear and Anxiety, Sheryl Ankrom, MS, LCPC, Amy Morin, LCSW,
How to overcome fear and anxiety, Mentalhealth.org.uk, Accessed July 14, 2021, https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/overcome-fear-anxiety
What are the five major types of anxiety disorders?, Hhs.gov, Accessed July 14, 2021, https://www.hhs.gov/answers/mental-health-and-substance-abuse/what-are-the-five-major-types-of-anxiety-disorders/index.html