What Does Anxiety Feel Like?
Melissa, a nurse, has started to become nervous in social settings. Though
she has always been shy, lately she has had extreme difficulty in a variety
of social situations. One of her responsibilities at work is to take patients’ medical
histories through an interview. She finds it difficult to look into her patients’ eyes,
and often the mere thought of the interview sends her into a panic. Her heart
beat races, her palms sweat, and her mouth gets dry. This panic-like feeling
has spread to other social events as well—Melissa often avoids parties
or other social functions in which she will have to introduce herself to
anyone. Melissa’s fear of social contact has lead her to feel anxious
in even simple daily activities such as going to the grocery store. She worries
that her fear of social contact might get worse and that she will never recover
to lead a normal life.
Melissa has an anxiety disorder. Melissa suffers from a particular type
of anxiety called social anxiety. Other types of anxiety include phobias
such as a fear of heights, fear of open spaces, and a fear of driving.