Anxiety is not an abnormal feeling. Everyone feels anxiety sometimes, whether this is in anticipation of a speaking event, loss of a job, or the birth of their baby. But, for some, anxiety can become a constant intense and hard to control intrusion in their lives.
There are many different anxiety disorders—social anxiety, phobias, panic attacks, and generalized anxiety disorder—and the differences between regular anxiety and the type that may need a diagnosis may not always be easy to discern. When anxiety crosses the line into a disorder, you may not know it.
If your anxiety has any of these symptoms below, on a regular basis, you may want to discuss your anxiety with a professional.
If you experience worry throughout most of your day about everyday things that may be large or big events, you may have Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). This anxiety disorder is the broadest of all of them, but how do you know if you are worrying too much?
If your thoughts are filled with persistent worry throughout the day for most days of the week, for at least six months, then your worry may have crossed the line into a disorder, especially if accompanied by noticeable symptoms, such as fatigue. In addition, the worry must be so strong that it interferes with man aspects of your daily life.
When your symptoms are causing dysfunction and suffering, they have crossed the line from normal anxiety into an anxiety disorder, according to Sally Winston, PsyD.
Constant worry can negatively affect your daily life by keeping you on high alert, struggling to trust situations and others, and, at times, pursue things you want because of your intense anxiety.
DISTURBANCES IN SLEEP
While difficulty falling or staying asleep may be part of many health conditions, both mental and physical, or just normal anxiety before the start of a new job, this can be a sign of an anxiety disorder as well. If you chronically are unable to get or stay asleep due to worry and agitation, then you may have intense anxiety. Your worry may stem from financial difficulties or nothing identifiable. Many people with GAD have a free-floating worry that is attached to nothing in particular. They are anxious about everything. Some estimates believe that half of those who are suffering from GAD are afflicted with sleep difficulties.
In addition, if you wake up and your mind is racing, you feel very jittery, and you can’t calm back down no matter how hard you try, this may also be a sign of anxiety that has crossed into a disorder.
FEARS THAT ARE IRRATIONAL
Though you may know that spiders cant really hurt you, when you have a phobia, this thought may, often, be unable to reduce your fear. Unlike those with GAD, phobias are very specific fears. They may be attached to many different triggers —flying, insects, or spoons. When this panic becomes disruptive, overwhelming, and much more intense than the situation requires or the risk involves, this is a strong sign you may have a phobia.
You may have seen phobias on television. A person may be intensely afraid of hair. This person may respond very strongly in fear to hair. The fear is very intense and not related to the risk, but it is very real and distressing for the person who has a phobia.
Phobias can be incapacitating, but that doesn’t mean they are always obvious. Sometimes,s they do not emerge until you happen upon a situation that triggers this intense fear response. For instance, you may go into an empty building and realize you have a crippling fear of abandoned buildings. Only when put into the specific situation will this fear emerge and you may realize the need for treatment.
PERSISTENT MUSCLE TENSION
Tense muscles may be a constant reality for those with anxiety. This may include balling your fists or tensing all of your body’s muscles. Often, people with anxiety disorder stop noticing they are tensing their muscles because this symptom is so persistent. It becomes just another part of their body’s response, though it can make a person feel fatigued throughout the day.
To keep muscle tension at a manageable level, regular exercise is good. If the exercise must be stopped for some time by injury or another event then this tension can come back. If the tension can’t be exercised off it may lead to irritability and restlessness. This response is because the anxiety is trying to leave the body but can’t.
Though anxiety is a mental disorder, it often shows up in the body. You may experience chronic issues with digestion such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), headaches, and fatigue. IBS may include symptoms such as cramping, bloating, stomachaches, gas, diarrhea, and/or constipation. This condition can become very severe if treatment is not sought. A good hemp oil has been shown to significantly reduce your anxiety, allowing you to fight the effects of IBS that are brought on.
While IBS can be caused by other factors, it often comes with anxiety. The digestive system is highly triggered by psychological stress and so these go hand in hand. In addition, the discomfort of the stomach can also trigger psychological distress. These digestive issues can lead to more anxiety for someone who has an anxiety disorder.
UNMITIGATED STAGE FRIGHT
Most people become somewhat anxious when having to perform in front of a group of people or, in some other way, stand in the spotlight. But if no amount of practice, reassurance, or coaching will alleviate this fear, or you are constantly thinking and worrying about it, you could have social phobia, which is one form of social anxiety disorder.
Those with social anxiety may spend days or weeks before an event worrying about it. And if they do complete the event, after exhibiting immense courage, they may ruminate on their performance long after it is over, wondering how others perceived them.
These often manifest as an intense fear that may be accompanied by difficulty breathing, numb or tingling hands, a racing heart, weakness, dizziness, sweating, chest and/or stomach pain, and a flush of hot and cold throughout the body.
If you experience these repeatedly, you may have panic disorder. Those who have panic disorder often have a fear of experiencing another attack. Some may avoid places where they had an attack before.