It might be a good idea to back off a bit when dealing with people who suffer from anxiety, according to a new study, because the disorder seems to affect the need for more personal space surrounding the body, also called "peripersonal space".
In addition, the researchers applied an electrical stimulus to a nerve in each participants' hand, which caused them to blink. This hand-blink reflex, which is not controlled by the brain, was monitored as the participants held their hand at four different distances from their face: ranging from about 2 inches to nearly 2 feet. By measuring the strength of their reflex, the investigators determined how dangerous the participants viewed each stimulus.
The U.S. National Institute of Mental Health has more about anxiety disorders.