The recent attacks have deeply affected some people. They moreover lead the many mixed responses. Terrorism can increase the feeling of unity. Unfortunately, terrorism can also cause anxiety. Of course it is normal to be anxious after an attack, but what is considered to be too much anxiety? Can the anxiety become so intense that it affects the way we function? How do we deal with this anxiety caused by terrorism?
Anxiety caused by terrorism is symptom-wise not very different from other types of anxiety. You experience heart palpitations, notice that you start to sweat more easily and that your muscles tense up. Your body prepares itself to response to danger, such as it would if you were to see someone walking around with a bomb. Moreover, your pupils dilate. Just like in ancient times, our body prepares itself to run away faster, find the strength to fight,… Anxiety caused by terrorism makes it so that you more quickly can take a decision when you are confronted with a life-threatening situation.
Except for physical symptoms, there also are many psychological symptoms that are linked to anxiety caused by terrorism. People with an anxiety disorder for example often have the feeling that they leave their body and look at what their body does and what is happening from an outsider’s point of view. This is called depersonalization. Furthermore, you can have the feeling that what is happening is not reality, that it is some type of dream. That is called derealization.
Even just thinking about the anxiety caused by terrorism can cause these symptoms after a while. You get anxiety about anxiety, as it were. Because the symptoms of anxiety caused by terrorism can be so overwhelming, they can occur when you are only just thinking about the symptoms. This forms a type of vicious cycle of anxiety.
As mentioned in the introduction, it is normal to be anxious after an attack. You can then feel safer by avoiding the place where the attack took place for some time, or by taking certain preventive measures. Anxiety caused by terrorism becomes problematic or clinical, however, when your functioning is affected. For example, you might no longer dare to leave your house for weeks, meaning you cannot go to the supermarket. The message thus is: anxiety in order to be safe is healthy, but too much anxiety requires help.
15 Minutes 4 Me is an online self-help program, developed by doctors and psychologists, to guide people on a daily basis in dealing with their anxiety. It supports you in breaking out of the vicious cycle of anxiety, and to step by step once again enjoy things which you used to enjoy in the past. Learn to live more consciously and to enjoy that which makes you happy by spending fifteen minutes per day on our online self-help program!
Would you like to test to what extent you suffer from anxiety symptoms? Then take the free anxiety test here!