Identifying When We Have Anxiety

2013-10-25 | |
Last updated: 2019-10-21

Have you ever asked yourself, “Do I have anxiety?”. Anxiety can occur as a natural part of life. There are so many situations that one will face that can bring about some level of worry. Public speaking or dealing with financial difficulties, for example, are common fears that most people have. It can be effective, at normal levels, in alerting us regarding dangers that may be encountered or in stimulating adrenaline release that will assist in facing fears.

For some people, however, anxiety can become an interfering factor in their life. Anxiety can begin to affect sleep, work, and school to the point of disrupting relationships and overall enjoyment of life. If left untreated, anxiety can lead to health issues and other serious concerns.

Unfortunately, it can be difficult to assess if our worries or anxiety is considered problematic. In trying to answer the question “Do I have anxiety?” it is important be honest in our assessment of the symptoms or to seek the advice of someone who can be objective. In general, seeking help is recommended if for anyone who suffers from many of these signs and symptoms:

· Apprehension
· Feeling powerless
· Having a sense of impending doom, panic or danger
· Increased heart rate
· Hyperventilation
· Severe sweating
· Trembling
· Feeling weak or tired
· Constant muscle tension
· Persistent sleep issues

What Are The Different Types Of Anxiety Disorders?

In more extreme cases, anxiety can be diagnosed as a mental condition and may require specific treatment. There are several anxiety disorders that can affect all types of people.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) – This condition is the broadest type of anxiety and is characterized by persistent worry about major or minor concerns. The difficulty is figuring out what is too much worry. In the case of GAD, having anxious thoughts almost everyday continually for at least six months and having the anxiety experienced interferes with daily life. The key is to determine whether our worrying is leading to excessive suffering. Sleep issues, such as chronically lying awake with worry or agitation about a specific problem, are common with GAD.

Panic Attacks – These can occur suddenly and cause apprehension, terror or fear. Shortness of breath, chest pain, heart palpitations, and a persistent sense of impending doom are all typical symptoms of this disorder. For those who experience a panic attack, the question of “Do I have anxiety?” would have a clear answer.

Specific Phobias – A specific phobia consists of major anxiety when we are exposed to a specific trigger (object or situation) and have a strong need to avoid it. This disorder is triggered by something specific like flying or crowds. If the fear becomes overwhelming or disproportionate to the actual risk involved, then that is a sure sign that a phobia is involved. A complication with specific phobias is that they often go unnoticed until the specific trigger is confronted when we can suddenly discover a situation that we cannot handle.

Social Anxiety Disorder – This disorder is most commonly recognized as a fear of being in a crowd or of public speaking. Social anxiety disorder, however, can be more than just not wanting to be the center of attention. In many cases, the anxiety can be initiated by an extreme worry about one-on-one conversations at parties or even performing simple tasks such as eating or drinking in front of other people.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) – This is a more widely known anxiety disorder characterized by persistent and recurring thoughts or compulsions. A strong need or a compelling desire to perform irrational acts or rituals is the most common symptoms. Many people who suffer from OCD, are perfectionists.

Separation Anxiety Disorder – This is a childhood disorder that results in anxiety due to separation from parents or a primary caregiver.

When Should We Seek a Doctor For Anxiety?

Now, it is one thing to understand the types of anxiety, but deciding when to see a doctor is a difficult decision to make. When we consider “Do I have anxiety?”, here are a few guidelines to follow in assisting us in answering this question. It is recommended that we seek help if the any of the following pertain to our current situations.

· If we worry so much that it is interfering with aspects of our life such as work, school or relationships.

· If, along with anxiety, we feel depressed or have trouble with drugs, alcohol or other mental health concerns.

· If we believe that the anxiety is related to a physical health issue.

· If we have suicidal thoughts or behaviors of any kind.

What Risk Factors Exist for Developing an Anxiety Disorder?

There are many factors that can increase the chances of developing an anxiety disorder.

· Being female
· Having experienced a childhood trauma
· Stress due to an illness
· Stress build-up
· Certain personality types
· Having anxiety disorders within our families
· Drug or alcohol use

Certainly, knowledge is power when dealing with anxiety issues. However, it is equally important to understand as well that we need to be honest with ourselves when deciding “Do I have anxiety?” A combination of understanding the issue and interpreting our symptoms can help is in finding a solution to our worries.

Author Bio: Anna Kaminsky is a blogger, a mother of two boys, and an aspiring child psychologist. She is doing PhD in Psychology at the University of Toronto and working as an intern at the Richmond Hill Psychology Center, where she maintains “Psychological Resources for Parents” blog and helps with psycho-educational assessments and play therapy. You can follow Anna on Twitter at @AnnaKaminsky1.

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Category: General Health, Symptom Information

Comments (4)

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  1. Mike R says:

    My wife is always complaining about her anxiety, and I just didn’t understand what she was really feeling or why. Reading this article made it a bit clearer and easier for me to understand why she has these issues.

    • When your wife has anxiety, it can be very challenging for you. Yet, you have to provide all the emotional support you can, as this is critically important for a person with anxiety. You wife should know that she can rely on you 100%.

  2. Anne says:

    I experienced a lot of anxiety in my late teens and early twenties. What helped me the most was gaining more knowledge–and more specifically, gaining knowledge about relaxation techniques that I could practice myself to feel more of a sense of control of my anxious feelings. I’m in my thirties now, and I still practice the techniques I learned back then, in fact!

    • I completely agree with you, relaxation techniques are very helpful. I know many patients that augment psychotherapy by practicing yoga and meditation and their recovery progress is amazing.