With more responsibilities comes more anxiety! This stands true in today’s world, more so because there are various reasons that give us anxiety daily – whether it is a relationship that isn’t working out or job-related anxiety, it is difficult to diagnose if you are suffering from an anxiety disorder.
If you have a persistent, excessive and intense worry or fear about everyday situations – a feeling of apprehension or fear about what is about to happen, then you may be a prey of an anxiety disorder.
What are Anxiety Disorders?
Anxiety disorders refer to a group of mental health disorders, which differ from the normal feelings of anxiousness or nervousness and involve excessive anxiety or fear. These are the most common types of mental disorders affecting approximately 30% of adults at some point during their lifetime.
Anxiety disorders can cause people to try to steer clear of situations that worsen or trigger anxiety symptoms.
Signs & Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders To Watch Out
Many people encounter anxiety at different points in their lives. Different forms of anxiety disorder may affect each individual differently.
Here is a look at the most common signs of anxiety disorders –
This is one of the most common signs of anxiety disorder. This worrying is disproportionate to the triggers and generally occurs in response to usual day-to-day situations. Excessive worrying over everyday matters is a key characteristic of generalized anxiety disorder, particularly if it is severe enough to impede your daily activities and lasts almost every day for at least six months.
When you feel anxious, a part of your sympathetic system goes into overdrive, which triggers effects, like sweaty palms, racing pulse, dry mouth and shaky hands throughout the body. These symptoms set in because your brain senses danger and prepares the body to respond to the threat – thereby heightening your senses and increasing your heart rate.
Restlessness is yet another common symptom of anxiety disorder. It is more frequently observed in teens and children. The feeling is defined as being ‘on the edge’ or having a ‘ strong urge to move’.
Based on the reports published in Healthline1, a study conducted on 128 children with anxiety disorders revealed that nearly 74% of the participants showed restlessness as one of the primary signs of the condition.
If a person experiences the symptom on most days for over six months, it could be an indication of an anxiety disorder.
Feeling fatigued or excessively tired is a prominent sign of generalized anxiety disorder. To some people, this may be surprising since anxiety is typically associated with arousal or hyperactivity. For some people, fatigue may follow an anxiety disorder while for others it may be chronic. Sometimes, fatigue may also suggest some other medical conditions, such as depression.
Many people who experience anxiety. report of having trouble concentrating.
Some studies went on to show that anxiety could heckle one’s working memory that is responsible for retrieving short-term information – this may help to explain the drastic fall in performance individuals often experience during periods of heightened anxiety.
Excessive irritability is commonly observed in people with anxiety disorders. Based on a recent study on more than 6000 adults, over 90% of those with generalized anxiety disorder showed signs of extreme irritability when their anxiety disorder was at its worst phase2.
Experiencing muscle tensions on most days of the week is one of the most frequent physical symptoms of anxiety.
Even though the association between the two is not completely understood, it is possible that tensed muscles heighten the feelings of anxiety or anxiety itself leads to increased muscle tenseness. Some studies have shown that treating tensed muscles with relaxation therapy can reduce worry in those with a generalized anxiety disorder.
Sleep disturbances or problems are associated strongly with specific forms of anxiety disorder. Having difficulty falling asleep and waking up in the middle of the night – these are the two most commonly reported problems in people with an anxiety disorder.
Research suggests that those who experienced insomnia during childhood may have a higher chance of developing anxiety at some point later in their lives.
Recurring panic attacks are associated with panic disorder, a form of anxiety disorder. Panic attacks cause an overwhelming, intense sensation of fear, which can be debilitating. This excessive fear is generally accompanied by sweating, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, shaking, nausea, chest tightness and losing control or fear of dying.
Panic attacks may occur in isolation, but if they happen unexpectedly or frequently, they may be a sign of a panic disorder.
Avoiding Social Situations
You may be experiencing social anxiety disorder symptoms if you find yourself –
- Feeling fearful or anxious about upcoming social situations
- Avoiding social events
- Worried about being judged by others in a social setting
- Fearful of being humiliated or embarrassed in front of others
Social anxiety typically develops in the initial phase of life. These people may appear very quiet and shy when interacting with new people. Even if they do not appear distressed to the eye, they feel extreme anxiety and fear inside.
Excessive fear of certain objects, which interrupts with one’s routine activities and the ability to function, could be a symptom of a specific phobia. While there are several types of phobia, all involve feelings of extreme fear and avoidance behaviour.
When Should you Seek Professional Help?
Anxiety often proves to be a debilitating condition and before you know it, the symptoms could worsen and lead to a serious form of anxiety disorder. Therefore, it is important to seek professional help before the above symptoms become severe.
Regardless of how long you have been encountering the symptoms listed above, if you ever feel like your emotions are taking a toll on your life, book an appointment with your healthcare provider or a trained professional.
A licensed psychiatrist or psychologist can help understand the probable trigger and signs of anxiety disorder, and help you treat the condition through a variety of means. This often includes a combination of anti-anxiety medications and certain psychotherapy techniques, like cognitive behavioural therapy, or some other forms of natural therapy.
Working with a trained professional may help you cope with the condition by reducing the signs and symptoms of anxiety as safely and quickly as possible.