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American Psychological Association (APA): Anxiety

Updated: Jan 5, 2023


Anxiety is an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts, and physical changes like increased blood pressure.


People with anxiety disorders usually have recurring intrusive thoughts or concerns. They may avoid certain situations out of worry. They may also have physical symptoms such as sweating, trembling, dizziness, or a rapid heartbeat.


Anxiety is not the same as fear, but they are often used interchangeably. Anxiety is considered a future-oriented, long-acting response broadly focused on a diffuse threat, whereas fear is an appropriate, present-oriented, and short-lived response to a clearly identifiable and specific threat.

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