Pathological concern: when I worry about worrying

Pathological concern: when I worry about worrying

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Human beings differ mainly from other living beings by our use of reason, we use reason as the basis for the elaboration and processing of all the information that forms our thoughts.

The information processing will cause us to respond. Most of them channeled in the form of behavior.

Often the thoughts we create (cognitions), for different reasons, can be seen as "out of tune" of reality causing in us that a thought or action that should be normal becomes pathological.


  • 1 What does it mean to worry?
  • 2 When does our concern become pathological?
  • 3 Do I suffer from pathological concern?
  • 4 Symptomatology of pathology concern

What does it mean to worry?

The verb to worry comes from the Latin “I will worry”, Formed by a prefix“pre"And a lexeme"I will occupy", that is to say: pre-action status. Causing a state of having a spirit absorbed by a restlessness, fear or restlessness.

Concern usually affects three areas:

  • Cognitive or psychological area: fear, waiting for danger, pessimistic feelings, worry about future events, affecting attention, memory and concentration.
  • Behavioral, motor and relational area: Irritability, anxiety, tension in family and environmental relationships.
  • Physiological or somatic area: vegetative hyperactivation.

These areas may be altered when our concern is very high or at the same time when our concerns are part of a recurring daily thought.

When does our concern become pathological?

As a psychologist, I should perhaps draw in this article what should be considered a problem and what is not, but I think it would not be a very professional action.

As I mentioned in other articles, the lines in psychology are often diffuse and this time I also consider it.

I firmly believe that the turning point is not in the type of problem but in how we process it in our mind. Each person is different, with their own characteristics, resources and experiences, we all carry our personal backpack. I believe that a person will define an event as problematic according to their own standards.

So I do not intend to define when a problem is a matter of concern and when it is not, what is important is to emphasize knowing how to differentiate when we deal with ourselves so as not to worry and resolve what concerns us or on the contrary when our concerns are transformed in our concern: I worry about being worried.

When I worry about being worried about situations of low probability, then it is when we cross the fuzzy line and psychologists talk about pathological concern.

Do I suffer from pathological concern?

When we talk about Pathological Concern we understand that our visualization to process the adverse event no longer focuses on how to solve it, but in that almost everything that surrounds us has an index of concern, although the probability that it happens is very little. The act of worry itself is perceived as a concern causing the three areas of which we spoke earlier, unbalance causing a state of hypervigilance, not only at specific times but also our body remains in a chronic alert state seriously affecting our entire daily life and well-being.

Given these strong levels of concern, our anxiety also rises, since we are in a state of alertness to any situation, which could establish that the pathological concern in 95% of cases is strongly associated with a generalized state of anxiety.

Symptomatology of pathology concern

The symptomatology of the pathological concern is closely linked to that of anxiety:

  • Recurring thoughts accompanied by counterfactual thoughts: Understanding by counterfactual thoughts those attributable to a situation that has not happened in time but in our mind the mental scheme of: what if it happened? Or what if it happened? This type of thinking can generate a strong feeling of anxiety, especially when negative or very low occurrences occur.
  • Recurring dreams about our concerns
  • Hypervigilance state, acting as if at any time what worries us will happen.
  • Avoidance of situations or people that generate concern.
  • Intense anguish due to repetitive thinking.
  • Physiological reactivity such as excessive sweat, tachycardia, muscle pain, fatigue, etc.

The symptomatology can be very varied despite having common features that differentiate a normal state of concern from a pathology.

What is really important, and I hope to transmit it to you in this article, is the importance of taking time to listen to ourselves, to our body, our thoughts: to develop our ability to "Insight" since knowledge will allow to define the diffuse lines between what is balanced and what is causing in our well-being, mental and physical health a necessary intervention damage.

The turning point is to be aware and know how to discern when worry has become the protagonist not only of our thoughts, but of what defines us in our day to day. When this occurs, we must have the ability to seek help from specialists and the people around us. As a professional, I strongly believe in his reconstruction, as the writer Banana Yoshimoto said: “You never know what can happen in the future, because lives without problems do not exist, therefore it was not unlikely that he would live similar circumstances again and then perhaps to relapse and lose my nerves. However, life went on without me letting myself be seized by worry. ”

It may interest you: Do you worry a lot? Character vs. Intelligence