Most anxiety is not actually a disorder at all — anxiety is just fear about something that is yet to come. Fear is adaptive; it is what tells us to run away from the bad guy, to stay out of oncoming traffic or to step back from the mountain edge. While fear is what we experience in these moments, anxiety is more anticipatory — it is the uneasy apprehension felt ahead of time called worry.
Evolutionarily speaking, it can be helpful to expect and prepare for something bad that is on its way, or take steps to avoid a dangerous situation. But our brains have been a long time in the making, and the threats (or perceived threats via thoughts) we experience in the modern world are very different from what our ancestors would have been up against. This leads to a lot of false alarms. Have our brains evolved as much as the sheer volume of things to think and worry about have evolved?
All anxiety disorders are essentially about an ineffective coping with a fear, especially when the behaviour a person is engaging in to cope (E.g. excess worry, excess safety behaviours, etc) are hurting. What sets the different disorders apart is what that fear stimulus is (a past trauma, a specific phobia, general life) and what the response is (flashbacks, compulsive behaviours, excessive worrying).
Anyone who knows me will know that I am not a massive fan of psychological labels.
And there are quite a few mental health disorders that fall under the greater anxiety umbrella:
Adrenaline is responsible for your body’s ‘fight or flight’ response. It helps you react quickly in a dangerous or stressful situation. Adrenaline is the hormone released when your brain perceives excitement, danger, fear, or a potential threat. You might feel a mix of all of those emotions when doing something scary.
Anxiety and excitement are both “aroused” emotional experiences and physiologically very similar in our body. If you have ever been the victim of a surprise birthday party, then you will have experienced both anxiety and excitement within seconds.
Research has proven that some anxiety is good. Indeed, the 'right' amount of anxiety can literally motivate effort and increase focus.
Whereas, too much anxiety drains our working memory, dramatically reduces our ability to process information, lowers our self confidence and increases our risk aversion.