Anxiety is explained as “a normal reaction to danger, the body’s automatic fight-or-flight response that is triggered when you feel threatened, under pressure, or are facing a challenging situation, such as a job interview, exam, or first date.” It is the body’s natural response to stress. Anxiety will manifest differently in different people. The feelings of anxiety can range from mild to severe. To gauge whether you are experiencing anxiety it is helpful to be aware of common signs and symptoms. The Mayo Clinic provides examples, some of which include the following:
- Shortness of breath
- Dry mouth
- Having a sense of impending danger, panic, or doom
- Chest pain
- Hyperventilation (breathing rapidly)
- Muscle aches and pains
- Feeling nervous, restless and/ or tense
- Loss of concentration
- Sleep disturbances
- Experiencing gastrointestinal (GI) problems
While fleeting anxiety is unavoidable, it is not healthy for an individual to experience persistent and debilitating symptoms of anxiety. An individual may be struggling with an anxiety disorder when pervasive anxiety interferes with his or her ability to function in daily life.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) asserts: “Anxiety disorders are a group of related conditions, each having unique symptoms. However, all anxiety disorders have one thing in common: persistent, excessive fear or worry in situations that are not threatening.” There are currently five distinct types of anxiety disorders listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). They include the following: generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and social anxiety disorder (also known as social phobia). The exact cause for developing an anxiety disorder remains unknown. Research suggests that it is likely due to a combination of contributing factors such as psychological, environmental, genetic, and developmental factors. It is important to note that while anxiety disorders are highly common, not every individual that experiences anxiety will inevitably go on to develop and anxiety disorder.
Do I Have An Anxiety Disorder?
Consider the following questions, and if you identify with any of them it could be indicative of an anxiety disorder, and it may be advantageous to pursue professional guidance:
- Does your anxiety interfere with your daily life (e.g., school, work, family responsibilities, etc.)?
- Are you constantly tense, worried, or on edge?
- Do you believe that something bad will happen if certain things are not done a certain way?
- Do you experience unshakable, irrational fears?
- Do you feel like danger and/ or catastrophe is lingering around every corner?
- Do you experience sudden, unexpected anxiety attacks?
- Do you avoid everyday situations and/ or activities because they cause you anxiety?
To obtain the most effective treatment, it is crucial to be thoroughly evaluated and diagnosed by a qualified mental health professional.
For Information and Support
Every family in need of mental health treatment must select a program that will best suit the needs of their family. When one member of a family struggles, it impacts everyone in the family unit. To maximize the benefits of treatment we work closely with the entire family to ensure that everyone is receiving the support they need through these difficult times. Seeking help is never easy, but you are not alone! If you or someone you know needs mental health treatment, we strongly encourage you to reach out for help as quickly as possible. It is not uncommon for many mental health difficulties to impact a person’s life, long term. Pursuing support at the beginning of one’s journey can put the individual in the best position to learn how to manage themselves in a healthy way so they can go on to live happy and fulfilling lives.
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