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The Anxiety Level Back to Course Index

One of the first behaviors one will observe in the crisis development sequence is the Anxiety Level. Anxiety has numerous definitions in the fields of psychology and psychiatry, but for our example we will simply define anxiety behavior as a noticeable increase or change in behavior which is manifested by a non-directed expenditure of energy.

Let’s assume the person is sitting in a waiting area and a visitor is due at 2:00 p.m. The person glances up at the clock and it is now 2:15. She proceeds to put down the magazine she was reading and begins to pace slowly back and forth, looking toward the window at the street outside the facility. Now the clock reads 2:20.The person goes back to her seat and begins going through the magazine a bit more vigorously. She’s not really reading, but using the magazine to expend some of her built-up energy. Another glance at the clock shows the time to be 2:25. Now she tosses the magazine aside and gets up again, this time pacing more rapidly, and she begins to wring her hands and mutter to herself. All of the previously described behaviors are classic examples of anxiety. It is the instance when one can tell by observing a person’s behavior that something is “different” about her. You may not know the source of the anxiety, but you can clearly tell that something is causing her to expend built-up energy and act differently than she normally would.