Anxiety is the most common mental illness in the United States.
Although it is common to feel anxious every once in a while, all of the daily life stressors can easily become overwhelming. While stress can be a good thing, since it helps us be better prepared, it can easily cross a line.
You don’t want anxiety to consume your life completely. If it gets to the point where it’s frequent and intense, it’s time to seek professional help. But what are the other signs that you’re suffering from anxiety?
1. Constant Worrying
One of the most common symptoms of anxiety is excessive worrying. There are many reasons to worry, but if it becomes disproportionate to the event that triggers it, that can be a problem. This is particularly true if the cause of worrying is everyday situations.
If you find yourself worrying on most days for at least six months, that could mean you’re suffering from anxiety. It must also be intrusive and severe, to the point where you cannot accomplish daily tasks.
You might also be looking for constant reassurance to help put your mind at ease. This can mean buying self-help books or searching the internet for medical diagnoses. Although reassurance helps ease worry, it is only a short-term fix.
2. Feeling Irritable
Feeling irritable and agitated is a common sign of anxiety. This is your sympathetic nervous system going into overdrive and creating a cascade of effects on your body.
You might feel your palms get sweaty, shaky hands, a dry mouth, and a racing pulse. This is a reaction to your brain believing that it is in danger. It can be great for actual danger but not ideal when you’re living your day-to-day.
Your body begins to redirect blood away from your digestive system and into your muscles. You’ll also feel your senses heightened. This type of reaction creates agitation and irritability, causing you to feel frustrated over mundane things.
It may also be harder for you to reduce this fight-or-flight arousal, so you’ll feel the effects for a longer period of time compared to people without anxiety disorders.
3. Trouble Sleeping
All types of sleep disturbances are associated with anxiety. This often means having trouble sleeping or staying asleep. If you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night or tossing and turning for hours, it might be time to seek help.
Especially if it’s associated with excessive worrying or physical symptoms like a quick heartbeat or sweaty palms, it may seem like a small symptom, but you’ll be surprised how much better you’ll feel after taking the steps towards treatment.
Alter Behavioral Health specializes in mental health. They can help diagnose your anxiety and provide the necessary treatment to get your life on track.
Trouble falling or staying asleep is common, but if you are also feeling fatigued, that is linked to anxiety.
4. Difficulty Focusing
Do normal tasks that seem simple for others to accomplish feel difficult for you? Is it before you have a hard time focusing on them? If you find yourself having a hard time concentrating on everything from work to your favorite movie, anxiety might be to blame.
One of the more surprising symptoms of anxiety includes lack of focus, poor concentration, and the ability to get easily distracted.
Next time you’re trying to accomplish a task, pay attention to how easily you’re able to get it done. If you find yourself looking at your phone often or unable to get it done, it may be a sign of anxiety.
5. Panic Attacks
A specific type of anxiety disorder is called panic disorder. This is when you have recurring panic attacks. This is an intense, overwhelming fear that can be debilitating.
It’s also accompanied by chest tightness, nausea, sweating, shaking, shortness of breath, and a fear of dying. People without anxiety might have a panic attack in isolation, but it may be a sign of a panic disorder if it happens unexpectedly and frequently.
In fact, 2.7% of American adults had a panic disorder in the last year.
6. Avoiding Social Situations
If you find yourself staying at home and avoiding social situations, this could be a sign of social anxiety disorder.
There are many reasons why you might be nervous about being around others. You might be worried you’ll be judged or scrutinized by others. It could also be a fear of being embarrassed in front of friends or strangers.
You might be making excuses for why you don’t participate in activities like happy hours, networking events, or parties. This type of avoidance starts small, but then it grows, and you’re saying no more often.
Although taking time to be on your own is perfectly okay, if you find yourself denying social situations out of fear, then it may be time to see someone about anxiety.
7. Stomach Problems
Do you notice that you have a lot of stomach problems? Believe it or not, ongoing stomach issues may be caused more by anxiety than the food you eat. Chronic worrying is likely to present symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome or IBS.
The gut is susceptible to stress, and even if IBS isn’t always related to anxiety, it’s common for both of them to occur together. If you’re someone who eats relatively healthy but still has GI issues, it could be a sign of anxiety.
Seek Professional Help for Anxiety
Anxiety may be common, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t seek professional help, especially if it gets to the point where you can’t live your life comfortably anymore. It’s easy to feel alone if you’re dealing with anxiety, but help is out there.
If you aren’t ready to see a doctor, try alternative methods of relaxing. There’s meditation, exercise, and a healthy diet. When this isn’t enough, you’ll want to take the next step in your mental health journey by seeing a professional.
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