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Anguish facts for kids

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A man in a workshop with a hand over his eyes in anguish whi Wellcome V0015867
A line engraving showing a man with a hand over his eyes in anguish.

Anguish is an emotion. It is a feeling of severe pain, mental suffering, distress and sadness. Anguish is related to misery, dread, despair, and depression.

Causes of anguish

August Friedrich Albrecht Schenck - Anguish - Google Art Project
"Anguish" (1876 - 1880), a painting by August Friedrich Albrecht Schenck that shows a sheep anguished over a dead lamb about to be eaten by birds.

Many things can cause a person to feel anguish. Abuse can cause anguish. Child abuse can cause anguish. Elder abuse can cause anguish. Bullying can cause anguish. Neglect can cause anguish. Shame can lead to feelings of anguish. A person may feel anguish when their life is not going as they hoped and there is little they can do to change it.

Anguish in law

Mental anguish is a concept of law. It is sometimes written into a legal code. In tort law, a person can receive compensation when someone hurts them. This is known as a personal injury case. This kind of legal case is handled by a personal injury lawyer.

In the United States, personal injury lawsuits account for less than 5% of all civil cases. That number is declining. Between 1999 and 2008, there was a 25% decrease in personal injury lawsuits filed in the United States.

In the judicial system, mental anguish is also called "pain and suffering". This may include feelings of fear, distress, anxiety, depression, trauma, or grief.

When Jimmy Carter was President of the United States, he issued a proclamation about human rights. He said that we must defend the victims of anguish, not the culprits (the people who cause it).

Anguish in medicine

In medicine, anguish is similar to anxiety. It is a type of neurosis. According to Sigmund Freud, the symptoms of anguish are irritability, anxiety, crisis, nightmares, phobias and obsessions. Anguish can also cause insomnia.

People with mental illnesses like melancholia or depression may feel anguish. Anguish may be a factor in a mental breakdown.

Chronic pain (or pain lasting longer than six months) can cause anguish.

The brain disease dementia can cause those who have it to experience anguish.

In dying patients, anguish may be physical, emotional, or spiritual. They symptoms of physical anguish are severe pain and anxiety. The symptoms of emotional and spiritual anguish are crying, moaning, wailing, or talking about fears or regrets.

Researchers found a potential treatment for the pain of anguish: a non-prescription medication (or over-the-counter drug) called paracetamol (or acetaminophen).

Anguish in psychology

Mental anguish can have significant as physical symptoms. Psychological suffering from anguish can be just as significant as physical pain. Psychological symptoms like anxiety, panic attacks and existential crisis can cause suffering.

Sigmund Freud is considered the inventor of psychoanalysis. Freud said that anguish is one of the feelings that brings together and tears apart people, families, and societies.

Anguish in philosophy

Anguish is an idea in philosophy.


Anguish is an important concept in existentialism. Existentialists believe that freedom causes anguish.

French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre talked about anguish in his book L'Être et le Néant (1943) (in English: Being and Nothingness) (1956).

"It is certain that we cannot overcome anguish, for we are anguish."

For Sartre and Heidegger and Kierkegaard anguish is an important emotion.

Another French philosopher, Gilles Deleuze, said that anguish is a basic human emotion. He said that people feel anguish when they understand that they cannot escape from evil and pain in the world.


Anguish is an important concept in nihilism. Nihilists believe that life is meaningless. That belief is a source of anguish.

German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer wrote about "anguish of conscience." He said that consciousness is anguish and anguish is pain.

Anguish in theology

Søren Kierkegaard was a Danish philosopher. He wrote about religion, or theology. Kierkegaard talked about anguish in several of his books: Fear and Trembling (1843), Either/Or (1843), The Sickness Unto Death (1849), and Two Discourses of God and Man (1938). In the book Eighteen Upbuilding Discourses (1843), Kierkegaard talked about Paul the Apostle. Paul felt anguish because he persecuted Christians.

Anguish in film

Anguish is feeling common for characters in Woody Allen's films. Marion feels anguish in Another Woman. Alvy feels anguish in Annie Hall. Mary fakes feelings of anguish in Manhattan. Elliot causes anguish for others when he falls in love with one of his wife's sisters in Hannah and Her Sisters.

Related pages

See also

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