In a word, yes. Anxiety is a normal emotion that we all experience to some extent.
Anxiety itself is not a disorder, the ‘disorder’ manifests when anxiety becomes so intense or frequent that it interferes with your ability to cope with everyday tasks and it starts to impact your daily life, most often preventing you from doing things that you either want or need to do. This might include anything from taking a flight to simply leaving the house.
How Does Anxiety Become a Disorder?
At some point along the way you became sensitised, perhaps by a traumatic event or a period of sustained stress or grief, and this caused you to become hyper-vigilant.
As a result your body is constantly releasing stress hormones (adrenaline, cortisol, etc) and these cause numerous symptoms and sensations in the body and a corresponding cycle of worry or panic, which then feeds back into the stress response.
Because the symptoms of anxiety are so intense and unpleasant and, in the case of a panic attack in particular, frightening, you end up developing phobophobia, the fear of fear. You become so afraid of anxiety that you’re constantly on edge awaiting the next ‘attack.’
The Fear Cycle
Unfortunately, what this actually does is confirm to your amygdala that there is indeed something wrong so it continues to release stress hormones, keeping you locked in the fight-or-flight response. And so the fear cycle becomes established, and this is the foundation of anxiety disorder.
The good news is, since your mind created this pattern, it is possible for you to break it. We’re going to use more or less the same processes that caused the disorder, to reverse it. Plus, we’ll throw in some additional tools to speed your recovery.