The twentieth century has been labeled “ The Age of Anxiety”. The treat of nuclear war, biological weapons, global warming, and AIDS, as well as other threats to public health and environment, all create significant concerns for large numbers of people.
For many people in the western world the unprecedented expansion of everything from technology through communication to shopping has brought with it not only increased demands of choice but also an expanding potential for feeling out of control.
Since 1950, a considerable amount of scholarly research has examined the nature, cause, and effects of anxiety. Psychologist Rollo May (1977) observed that “There has been an enormous amount of research that interest in anxiety. In contrast to the fact that only two books were written on anxiety before 1950, a score of volumes were published between 1950 and 1977. And in contrast to the half-dozen papers exploring the subject before 1950, it has been estimated that at lest 6000 studies and dissertations on anxiety and tangential subjects. Today, there are professional journals, such as Anxiety Disorders and the Journal of Anxiety Disorders, that are devoted exclusively to the publication of theory and research on anxiety.
Anxiety is a common emotional response to many life experiences. The prospect of public speaking, a job interview, severe weather, and riding in an airplane are situations that arouse anxiety in many people. While the cause of anxiety may vary from individual to individual or culture to culture, everyone experience anxiety from time to time. It is an emotional response that, in extreme cases, can have a profound and debilitating effect on the individual.