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Anticipatory anxiety

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Anticipatory anxiety - a condition characterized by fear and anxiety about bad things that might happen in the future.

It may occur in many different contexts, but it focuses more on things that a person cannot control or be unable to anticipate.

Symptoms and effects of anticipatory anxiety

Pre-emptive anxiety ranges from a fleeting wave of tension to a feeling of dread.

And the patient may notice:

  • Difficulty concentrating.

  • Problems controlling feelings and moods.

  • Chilled out feelings.

  • Loss of interest in usual hobbies.

  • Emotion or excitement.

  • Muscle cramps and pain.

  • Nausea and loss of appetite.

  • Trouble sleeping.

In a state of anticipatory anxiety, one may spend a long time imagining worst-case scenarios.

Focusing too much on these unwanted outcomes may add to frustration and despair as well.

Proactive anxiety displayed no disease

Proactive anxiety is not a psychiatric diagnosis in itself (meaning it is not a disease), but rather it can appear as a symptom of generalized anxiety disorder, or other disorders.

Others include fear of future events that are not necessarily likely to happen.

Among the disorders that can be associated with anticipatory anxiety:

Social anxiety

Social anxiety involves an intense fear of rejection or negative judgment, and this fear is often associated with symptoms of physical anxiety as well.

If a person has social anxiety, he may worry about saying something embarrassing or making social lapses that could cost him his friendships or work.

Anxiety about expected criticisms of others may make it more difficult for a person to share his or her thoughts or opinion on any topic.

Specific types of phobias

Some phobias may include an extreme fear of things present on a daily basis in a person's life, such as watches, spiders, orbiting, or riding the bus.

People with phobias of all kinds have a lot and a lot of anticipatory anxiety, which appears in conjunction with what they fear.

Panic disorder

Proactive anxiety is a common symptom of panic disorder.

Post-traumatic stress disorder - PTSD

Most people who experience some type of trauma live in fear of the trauma repetition.

The anticipatory anxiety associated with PTSD may occur as a symptom of any traumatic experience, such as a car accident, theft, or the death certificate of a loved one.

Stimuli associated with trauma may increase the sense of anticipatory anxiety. If the event gets stuck in a person's mind, he or she will spend a lot of time remembering what happened and worrying about it happening again, even straining to think of anything else.

How to deal with anticipatory anxiety

Pre-emptive anxiety can cause a lot of stress, and a person may be locked into circles of anxious thoughts.

Among the tips that may help break these cycles:

Take care of the physiological needs

Things like sleep, nutrition and exercise can play an important role in managing anxiety symptoms, including anticipatory anxiety.

If the symptoms include stomach upset, you may find it difficult to eat, but skipping meals may make matters worse, so it is important to get adequate nutrition.

Also, in many cases, anticipatory anxiety can cause sleep problems, but sleep deprivation may make the situation even worse.

Stopping caffeine and practicing relaxation techniques may often improve sleep quality.

Also, sport is a very beneficial factor against anxiety and in improving mental health in general, and it should not be neglected.


It matters the way you talk to yourself about anxiety.

It is natural to worry about bad things happening, and when these fears persist you should remind yourself (gently) that overthinking negative things may prevent a person from enjoying the good things in life.

When you start worrying about something, ask yourself: Is this a realistic possibility? If your (chance) answer is no, then you should try directing your energy and focus toward the present moment instead.

If the answer is yes, then it is acceptable to plan to deal with the event, whether that includes taking leave from work or re-equipping emergency equipment ... etc, but within reasonable limits.

Then try to remove anxious thoughts, as you have done your best.

Talk about concerns

Informing loved ones and those close to you of your concerns can also help, especially if you feel isolated because of your symptoms. Often, it helps friends and family by listening and providing positive distractions such as walking or cooking together.

When does pre-emptive anxiety require professional treatment

If self-treatment methods do not work and do not provide sufficient satisfaction, it is useful to try professional help.

Anxiety is a little common, and most people need some extra support to live comfortably with it.

Here's a look at the top options to help:


Psychotherapy is usually the best way to solve problems causing anxiety. The therapist helps the patient examine the sources of stress in their life and begin by identifying potential causes of anticipatory anxiety.

Likewise, the therapist may help you identify harmful or ineffective ways of dealing with anxiety, such as avoiding the source of fear or resorting to drinking alcohol to forget, and providing guidance for more beneficial and healthier methods.

Since anticipatory anxiety may be triggered by various psychological concerns, the therapist may recommend a specific type of treatment depending on what the patient is dealing with.

For anxiety, many therapists recommend cognitive behavioral therapy or full focus cognitive therapy.

Also, exposure therapy may be particularly beneficial with some phobias, but it is also recommended for other types of anxiety and PTSD.

In addition to speech therapy, EMDR helps many patients improve PTSD symptoms.

Drug therapy

Medicines do not cure anxiety. Rather, they help improve symptoms, including anticipatory anxiety, especially when combined with treatment.

A health care provider may recommend medications if symptoms:

  • Makes daily life difficult to follow.

  • It prevents progress in treatment.

  • Cause extreme distress.

  • Affects physical health.

Medicines for anxiety include both long-term and short-term, so they are not necessarily permanent.

The decision to take medications is individual, so the patient does not feel compelled to take them or not.

Some of the potential medications to treat include:

  • Beta blockers. It might work well as an intermittent treatment for stress. A patient may try this option if their anxiety is tolerable, but it only gets out of control sometimes.

  • Benzodiazepines, which are sedatives that promote relaxation and calm. However, they can be addictive, so they are only recommended in the short term. You may benefit from them by tolerating the severe symptoms of anxiety first treatment.

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.

  • Serotonin reuptake inhibitors - norepinephrine.

  • Other antidepressants that provide relief for a longer period of time.

The future holds nothing but surprises, it is natural to spend some time wondering what might happen, but when the anticipatory anxiety becomes severe it will prevent enjoying the present, and then it may be required to seek professional support.

In short, if quality of life is affected, speaking to a therapist and taking remedial help will be helpful.

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Great read.

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