Everyone at some point, experiences a bit of nervousness, often called “butterflies” before big events, work situations or new experiences. We might also worry about things in our life including finances, family, friends or work. This normal feeling of anxiety is felt by everyone, but some people have elevated levels of anxiety that interfere with normal daily life. Those who experience this know that it is a real health issue and can have a significant impact on one’s day-to-day life. It is important to differentiate between normal levels of anxiety and an unhealthy struggle with anxiety. If your anxiety seems constant and impacts your daily life and activities, you may have an anxiety disorder.
- There are a few questions you can ask yourself to understand whether your anxiety levels indicate a concerning problem.
- Is your anxiety prohibiting you from work, life or social activities?
- Do you feel like you are on the edge all the time?
- Are you constantly worried about irrational situations or think that bad things will happen?
- Do you find yourself avoiding certain activities or situations because they make you nervous?
If you answered yes to these types of questions, you might be dealing with an anxiety disorder. There can be physical signs of anxiety. Often, someone who has an anxiety disorder will experience what is called “panic attacks” or attacks of anxiety. When these spells occur, the heartbeats very fast, the stomach may be upset and dizziness may be experienced as well as headaches, fatigue and disorientation.
Some people affected by anxiety say they may feel like they are going to pass out during an attack or get sick. The muscles tense up and you may feel shortness of breath. The attacks are frightening and some people believe the signs are symptoms of medical issue when in fact they are symptoms of anxiety. The attacks usually last just a few minutes, but can extend up to an hour. Anxiety varies person-to-person and there are several types of disorders linked by some commonalities, though the onset of the anxiety is likely caused by different situations in people. Some people get anxious before social events, driving or travel. In other people, there may be no understanding of why they get panic attacks and therefore suffer from anxiety attacks that occur with no warning. Often those who suffer from anxiety issues get panic attacks in places where most people would feel fine, for instance in public places, malls, restaurants and airports.
In other situations, people affected by high anxiety do not display any physical symptoms but are constantly plagued by invasive worrisome thoughts and feelings resulting in emotional symptoms. For instance, you may always be playing out situations in your mind and how things could go wrong, how you could get hurt or if something bad will happen. Often, people who have anxiety troubles will avoid situations where they can imagine something going wrong of where they will be uncomfortable. A commonality among anxiety disorders is a constant fear or worry about certain situations where other people would feel no anxiety at all. The person may also have trouble concentrating and feel jittery, restless and irritable.
Fortunately, there is help for those who struggle with anxiety. First, it is important to take a look at your life and understand your sources of anxiety. Are you overworked, stressed and sleep deprived? These might be reasons you are anxious and lifestyle changes may make you feel less anxious and more relaxed. However, some people have more serious problems with anxiety that require the care of a doctor and possibly medication. If you are struggling with abnormal levels of anxiety everyday, it is critical to see a doctor.