Covid-19 brought up panic and fear for everyone. The whole world found difficult to adjust. Everyone talks about covid-19 death rates, speaking about worldwide grief, but there are families who struggle to overcome other losses. I want to talk about miscarriages – unspoken grief. The period of pregnancy can be […]
Fear is an intensely unpleasant emotion in response to recognise a danger or threat. Feeling scared causes physiological changes that may produce behavioural reactions. In human beings it may occur in response to a certain stimulus occurring in the present, or in anticipation or expectation of a future threat perceived as a risk to oneself. The fear response arises from the perception of danger leading to confrontation with or escape from/avoiding the threat (also known as the fight-or-flight response), which in extreme cases (horror and terror) can be a freeze response or paralysis.
In humans and other animals, fear is modulated by the process of cognition and learning. Thus, fear is judged as rational or appropriate and irrational or inappropriate. An irrational fear is called a phobia.
Feeling scared is closely related to the emotion anxiety, which occurs as the result of threats that are perceived to be uncontrollable or unavoidable. The fear response serves survival by engendering appropriate behavioural responses, so it has been preserved throughout evolution.
Feeling scared is sometimes incorrectly considered the opposite of courage. Because courage is a willingness to face adversity, fear is an example of a condition that makes the exercise of courage possible.
Many physiological changes in the body are associated with fear, summarized as the fight-or-flight response. An innate response for coping with danger, it works by accelerating the breathing rate (hyperventilation), heart rate, vasoconstriction of the peripheral blood vessels leading to blood pooling, increasing muscle tension including the muscles attached to each hair follicle to contract and causing “goosebumps”, or more clinically, piloerection (making a cold person warmer or a frightened animal look more impressive), sweating, increased blood glucose (hyperglycemia), increased serum calcium, increase in white blood cells called neutrophilic leukocytes, alertness leading to sleep disturbance and “butterflies in the stomach” (dyspepsia). This primitive mechanism may help an organism survive by either running away or fighting the danger. With the series of physiological changes, the consciousness realizes an emotion of fear.