Are Fear and Anxiety the Same, or Is There a Difference?

Although fear and anxiety seem to be the same concepts, there are some differences between them.

Anxiety is an emotion (emotion) that creates a neuroendocrine, behavioral and neurochemical response to an uncertain, potentially dangerous stimulus that has not become a clear danger. As stated, the source of fear is more obvious. Anxiety can sometimes be a clear, obvious source, but it is more often experienced about situations that may be possible. Fear is a momentary emotion that occurs suddenly against danger. It occurs suddenly, but it also intensifies. Anxiety, on the other hand, is an emotion that lasts longer than fear, but is less severe than fear. For example, a person with a fear of mice suddenly feels an intense fear when he encounters a mouse, but this usually goes away when the mouse stimulus is gone. In summary, it occurs suddenly with a clear stimulus, becomes very intense in a moment, and improves as soon as the source disappears. However, in anxiety, for example, the person worries that something will happen to his mother. There is no such clear situation, but the person thinks about what he can be and worries about it. This thought and the anxiety triggered by the thought lasts longer. It is often in one’s mind in a ruminative way. It does not appear suddenly and intensify as in fear, it continues and is continuous. Although its violence is not as intense as fear, it is less; Anxiety is a feeling of fear and worry that is difficult to define. Anxiety forces the person to be constantly alert. It warns the state of being alert for approaching dangers and enables the person to take measures to deal with the threat element. Fear is a similar warning; but fear is against a clear situation outside. Anxiety, however, is a reaction to a threat that is unknown, innate, uncertain, or rooted in internal conflict.

According to the DSM-5 diagnostic book, which is the updated version of the American Psychiatric Association, which determines the diagnostic criteria of psychiatric diseases, anxiety disorders are as follows.

1. Specific Phobia

2. Social anxiety disorder

3. Panic Disorder

4. Generalized anxiety disorder

5. Agoraphobia

6. Substance/Drug-induced anxiety disorder

7. Anxiety disorder due to general medical condition

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