Anxiety holds a significant place within the psychoanalytic framework. It is characterized as a sense of dread that arises when repressed feelings, memories, desires, and experiences resurface into conscious awareness. Anxiety can be seen as a state of tension that compels us to take action. It emerges from a conflict among the id, ego, and superego regarding control over available psychic energy. The primary function of anxiety is to serve as a warning of imminent danger.
Types of Anxiety
1. Reality Anxiety: Fear of External Threats
Reality anxiety stems from the fear of external threats. Its intensity corresponds to the actual level of danger. This type of anxiety is proportionate to the degree of real threat posed by the external world.
2. Neurotic Anxiety: Fear of Uncontrolled Instincts
Neurotic anxiety arises from the fear that the instincts will spiral out of control and lead to actions for which one will be punished. It involves the apprehension of one's instincts becoming overpowering and causing harmful consequences.
3. Moral Anxiety: Fear Stemming from Conscience
Moral anxiety is driven by the fear of one's own conscience. Individuals with a well-developed conscience tend to feel guilt when they act in a manner that contradicts their moral code. This type of anxiety arises from the inner conflict between one's actions and moral standards.
When the ego is unable to manage anxiety through rational and direct means, it resorts to ego-defense behaviors as indirect methods of coping.