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A Psychologist's Thoughts on Clinical Practice, Behavior, and Life

The Difference Between Fear and Anxiety

Like conjoined twins, it can be hard to emotionally separate fear from anxiety though they differ. Fear is the suspicion of danger, whether actual or merely imagined. Anxiety is the resultant physical experience with symptoms that can mimic virtually any medical disorder: increased heart rate, dry mouth, loss of appetite, and/or pain in virtually any part of the body from the head to the legs.

Anxiety terrifies because it threatens the stable operation of the executive function which controls behavior. Lacking this, the human becomes an uncontrollable jumble of impulses and incapable of functioning.

But despite its discomfort, anxiety cannot kill nor is it mindless. Its function is to inform the sufferer that they need to make changes in their life to insure their continued health and happiness.

Anxiety frightens greatly because it seems to come from nowhere, having no cause or course though it has both. Its cause is emotional conflict and it remains as long as it takes to resolve this.
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