Gabriela called the taxi, apprehensive. He no longer drove after the accident that marked his face with scars that were still noticeable. Even inside the taxi, she was terrified every time she passed an intersection. She prayed the entire way and was only calm after getting out of the vehicle.
Gustavo was called to the chief’s office and received the news that he would have to give a talk in another country. He started to sweat and his heart raced to think that he would have to take a plane to reach his destination. He declined the opportunity and missed the long-awaited promotion that was due to him.
These cases are just a few examples of a disorder that is fast becoming the evil of the century: anxiety.
Who hasn’t felt their mouth dry, their heart beating faster, their breathing labored? Who hasn’t felt so nervous about wanting to run away or avoid a situation?
Anxiety, in general, is a feeling that is part of our daily lives in the form of concerns, fears and expectations. If you feel or have ever felt this way, there is no reason to be alarmed. Anxiety is part of our daily lives and, depending on the situation, it is normal and even appropriate. We have all experienced a vague feeling of fear or concern when looking for a job, taking an exam, facing the public for the first time. It is perfectly natural and healthy. However, when this anxiety becomes a habitual response to common situations and starts to interfere in daily life, including physical changes, it becomes a disorder.
Tonic anxiety is an emotional state accompanied by an unpleasant and subjective feeling of fear directed towards the future, where there is no recognizable threat or the threat is disproportionate to the emotion that evokes it. When persistent, accompanied by suffering and with losses in the individual’s life, it is characterized as a pathological state. Whoever experiences this anxiety is always irritated, on the alert, showing palpitations, pain and dizziness. Suddenly, the individual can no longer function normally, feeling stuck with expectations and discomfort. Life becomes unbearable and suffering, real or imagined, becomes a physical and emotional burden, marked by feelings of apprehension, restlessness or tension.
Anxiety disorder is the generic term for a group of psychological conditions related to excessive worries and fears. They are: Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Panic Syndrome, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Phobias.
TAG is characterized by a state of constant apprehension or concern about anything. Individuals who suffer from this disorder are permanently anxious, showing restlessness, fatigue, difficulty concentrating or feeling white, irritability, inability to disconnect from anxious thoughts, muscle tension and sleep disturbance. This anxiety can progress to depression.
Panic Syndrome, experienced by Marta, is characterized by recurrent attacks of terror, palpitations, shortness of breath, sweating, tremor, chest pains, pallor, dizziness and nausea. Those who suffer from this disorder have the feeling that they are going to die. The attacks are unpredictable, so the individual fears the next episode and no longer wants to leave the house. Thus, it is not unusual for those who suffer from Panic Syndrome to also suffer from agoraphobia.
PTSD, experienced by Gabriela, occurs after an overwhelming traumatic episode, such as a catastrophe, an assault or a serious accident. The individual starts to relive the past event as if he were experiencing it again, feeling the same terror and helplessness that he felt the moment it occurred.
Phobias are characterized by excessive, persistent and uncontrollable fear directed at an object or situation. Some of the best known phobias are agoraphobia (fear of public, open places), acrophobia (fear of heights), acousticophobia (fear of noise), claustrophobia (fear of closed places), aerophobia (fear of flying, experienced by Gustavo) and several others. Despite the gravity of the situation, the good news is that there are both medicated and therapeutic treatments that can reduce and relieve anxiety so that the individual can return to a healthy and functional life. The important thing is to seek help. Ever.
Lucia Moyses is a psychologist, neuropsychologist and writer. Born in São Paulo, Lucia had her first training in systems analysis by FATEC (Faculty of Technology of the State of São Paulo), complementing her studies with a postgraduate course at UNICAMP (University of Campinas). She worked in this area for more than 20 years and was invited to co-author a work at IBM, at its headquarters in the United States. Administered courses and lectures, including for people with special needs.
From this experience, the writer became interested in the humanities area. It was then that he decided to pursue a career as a Psychologist, completing his bachelor’s degree at FMU (University Center of Faculdades Metropolitanas Unidas) and, soon after, specializing in Neuropsychology and Cognitive Rehabilitation by (INESP) – National Institute of Higher Education and Research.
In 2013, the author released her first book “Você Me Conhece?” and two years later, the book “E Viveram Feliz Feliz Para Semper”, both with a focus on human relationships and psychology.
Three years after specializing in Neuropsychology, Lucia released the first three books: “Por Todo Infinito”, “Just Above My Body” and “Uma Dose Fatal”, from the DeZequilibrios collection. Composed of ten independent books, the collection explores the human mind and personal relationships. Each volume tells a different drama, involving a psychiatric disorder, with the main character’s interweaving as a link.
Now in 2018, the psychologist is launching three more books: “The Woman in the Blue Dress”, “Don’t Touch Me” and “A Glass of Poison”, totaling six books in the collection.