Catastrophe Anxiety: What Is It And What Can You Do About it?

Catastrophe anxiety, or put just as well, catastrophic thinking, is a kind of anxiety disorder defined in Psychology Today as "ruminating about irrational worst-case outcomes".

In other words, catastrophe anxiety occurs when someone experiences uncontrollable anxiety over 'catastrophic' or life-threatening experiences despite the realistic odds of these experiences were extremely low by all or most other standards. For example, it's reasonable to experience anxiety when the television news says that a tornado might be coming in your direction. This is not catastrophe anxiety. Catastrophe anxiety is experiencing anxiety about a tornado that does not exist and has not been forecast; the mere fact that it 'could' occur, at some point in the future, is enough to launch an episode of catastrophe anxiety.

Generally, catastrophe anxiety develops out of very little. It generally calls for a lot of uncalled-for speculation; something as simple as the tone of another person's voice may be enough to kick off a cascade of thoughts that begin with, 'Is this person angry with me?' and end with 'My boss is obviously getting ready to fire me' despite the absolute dearth of any real evidence linking the tone of their voice with the likelihood of that person firing them.

Catastrophe anxiety isn't only limited to actual, large –scale catastrophes such as natural disasters or terrorist attacks. People can experience catastrophe anxiety over small-scale potential experiences, including public speaking. They undergo a thought process that features a lot of imagined scenarios of things going extremely poorly—catastrophically so.

Treatment for Catastrophe Anxiety

Treatment for catastrophe anxiety and catastrophic thinking is not much different than treatment for any anxiety disorder, which means that the symptoms can be controlled through the use of prescribed medications, or the disorder could see some resolution by way of cognitive-behavioral therapy is administered by a qualified professional therapist or counselor.

It is also important that people with catastrophe anxiety do their utmost to try and recognize the patterns of such thinking and the sources so they might be able to evaluate the situation with a more detached and unbiased mindset.

Consequences of Catastrophe Anxiety

People who struggle with catastrophic thinking can convince themselves to make lifestyle decisions that are contrary to their better judgment or that can interfere with their personal or professional lives. They may choose not to leave the home for fear of being involved in a terrorist attack or crossing a bridge that might collapse. It can turn into a clinical phobia and alter the course of a person's life.

Photo: Pexels

Anxiety Support Groups

Submitted by bali bae on Fri, 08/16/2019 - 10:00am
Comments: 2    Views: 34
Submitted by Pixie on Fri, 08/16/2019 - 8:05am
Comments: 0    Views: 30
Submitted by MillieM on Thu, 08/15/2019 - 4:31pm
Comments: 1    Views: 38
Submitted by JustJules on Thu, 08/15/2019 - 11:42am
Comments: 3    Views: 48

More Articles

Agoraphobia is a disorder that develops when a person begins to avoid situations associated with anxiety. It arises from an anxiety condition that...

This article is Part II of a two-part article....

When you struggle to fall asleep night after night due to severe anxiety, you may find your symptoms getting worse; lack of sleep is one of the...

Stress and anxiety are largely a result of mental or emotional distress, causing feelings such as apprehension, fear, frustration, and anger....

There are two main strategies used to overcome social anxiety disorder (sometimes called “social phobia”). The first is medication and the second...

More Articles

While anxiety disorders in children are often overlooked, they are actually the most common childhood psychiatric problem. Children can suffer...

Selective serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, or SNRIs, are a type of antidepressant often prescribed for anxiety disorders. They are a...

SAM-e, or S-Adenosylmethionine, is a chemical that naturally occurs in the human body and is essential for many biological processes. Although SAM...

In the biggest clinical trial to date testing this drug, the anesthetic ketamine delivered big and quickly to patients with treatment-resistant...

Much of our anxiety rests on assumptions that we have made. We assume the worst possible scenario will come true. We assume we know what others...

Anafranil is the brand name of the tricyclic antidepressant clomipramine. It is approved by the FDA to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder and is...

All of the little things we do to help ourselves gradually allow us to feel and do better.

If you are prone to anxiety, be attentive to how...

Stress can strike anyone at any time, but anxiety occurs when stress is present for an extended amount of time, from several months to several...

The antidepressant Effexor, a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI), was first introduced in 1993 and is approved for the treatment...

Although it seems improbable, Robert S. Wilson, Ph.D., of Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, and his colleagues say that they found a...

Women might have a leg up on men when it comes to interviewing for a job, say researchers at the University of Western Toronto. The data from a...

Relationship anxiety is excessive worry about either forming or keeping a relationship. And it is considered one aspect of social anxiety disorder...

Norpramin is a tricyclic antidepressant that is approved by the FDA to treat depression and also prescribed off-label for the treatment of some...

Elavil (known generically as amitriptyline) is a tricyclic antidepressant that was approved by the FDA back in 1961 for treatment of major...

Anxiety sweating is a very common symptom with an anxiety disorder. In most cases, anxiety sweating is perfectly natural.

Being angry,...