Can You Tell the Difference?

By: malo

Fear and anxiety are sometimes interchanged by writers. Some web writers give similar definitions to these two word entities. However, in the real context, can we really say that, like pretty and beautiful, these two words can be used in place of each other? Are they kindred words?

Fear is described to be poignant emotion that cues for, or signals, any imminent danger, problem, pain, or any dilemma that comes to a person. Like arachnophobia, or the fear for spiders, certain bodily reactions occur, like panic or running away, just to get away from any life-threatening scenario. Also, fear is described to act on different stimuli to escape impending danger. Psychologists have long debated on the aforementioned as to whether it is an internal human emotion, like joy and anger.

Meanwhile, anxiety is described to be an overwhelming emotion of fear, distress, worry, and apprehension. It usually coincides with physical manifestations such as chronic headaches, chest pains, difficulty in breathing, heart palpitations, and nausea. It is also noteworthy to include in the list of descriptions for anxiety a brief gist of what it is: a complex emotion.

Fear and anxiety, however, have similarities in some respects. These, maybe, are some reasons why some people get confused with the use of these word entities. Let's examine them....

Both are bodily responses against impending and life-threatening situations. No normal person, except our record breakers and death-defying artists, can come face-to-face with danger, stay in that place, and welcome death with open arms. The usual reaction of people, according to human instinct, is to stay away from danger. Fear and anxiety are bodily mechanisms that pump our system and fuels the body with a certain amount of energy that helps us escape danger. Fear, in this sense, shoots up a great deal of adrenaline to the body, which allows a person to better from danger. Anxiety, likewise, helps the body to react on certain stimuli that mobilizes the body, thus, avoiding the source of anxiety.

Both, on the surface, seem to be harmless, but can be life-risking. Fear and anxiety, no matter how petty they may seem, can result in death upon neglect. Studies show that fear and anxiety are listed to be one of the many causes of death. Jumping on top of multilevel buildings as a result of paranoia can start from a simple case of anxiety. Meanwhile, a primary student may seem to be having manageable social anxiety episodes, but this petty thing can cause his life to go awry in the process.

Even with these apparent similarities, fear and anxiety are certainly not the same.

Fear is one of the complex emotions that is involved in anxiety. As mentioned on, anxiety is described to be the overwhelming fear, apprehension or worry. In observance of this, we can safely say that they are different from one another. Medical studies show that certain reactions caused by fear and anxiety are not necessarily the same.

Let's take the example of AIDS. Certainly, many people fear just the thought of it. However, people do not necessarily panic, a typical sign of anxiety, upon the idea of the AIDS. Their fear of AIDS is powerful, but it doesn't compel them to have panic attacks and flee at the slightest provocation. Instead, their fear motivates them to learn more about the disease.

To make sense, fear is one of the complex emotions that is interspersed in the intricate nature of anxiety. Are the two different? Affirmative.

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