How can you tell if your everyday anxiety has crossed the line into a disorder?
It’s not easy. Anxiety comes in many different forms – such as panic attacks, phobia and social anxiety, the distinction between an official diagnosis and “normal” anxiety isn’t always clear.
Here’s a start: If you experience any of the following symptoms on a regular basis, you may want to talk with your doctor.
The hallmark of generalizedAnxiety disorder (GAD) – the broadest type of anxiety is worrying too much about everyday things, large and small.
Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep is associated with a wide range of health conditions, both physical and psychological. And, of course, it’s not unusual to toss and turn with anticipation on the night before a big speech or job interview.
Some Anxiety isn’t generalized at all; on the contrary, it’s attached to a specific situation or thing like flying, animals, or crowds. If the fear becomes overwhelming, disruptive, and way out of proportion to the actual risk involved, it’s a telltale sign of phobia, a type of Anxiety disorder.
Near-constant muscle tension whether it consists of clenching your jaw, balling your fists, or flexing muscles throughout your body often accompanies Anxiety disorders. This symptom can be so persistent and pervasive that people who have lived with it for a long time may stop noticing it after a while.
Anxiety may start in the mind, but it often manifests itself in the body through physical symptoms, like chronic digestive problems. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a condition characterized by stomachaches, cramping, bloating, gas, constipation, and/or diarrhea.
Most people get at least a few butterflies before addressing a group of people or otherwise being in the spotlight. But if the fear is so strong that no amount of coaching or practice will alleviate it, or if you spend a lot of time thinking and worrying about it, you may have a form of social anxiety disorder
Social Anxiety disorder doesn’t always involve speaking to a crowd or being the center of attention. In most cases, the Anxiety is provoked by everyday situations such as making one-on-one conversation at a party, or eating and drinking in front of even a small number of people.
Panic attacks can be terrifying: Picture a sudden, gripping feeling of fear and helplessness that can last for several minutes, accompanied by scary physical symptoms such as breathing problems, a pounding or racing heart, tingling or numb hands, sweating, weakness or dizziness, chest pain, stomach pain, and feeling hot or cold.
In order to be diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder, a person’s obsessiveness and intrusive thoughts must be accompanied by compulsive behavior, whether it’s mental (telling yourself It’ll be all right over and over again) or physical (hand-washing, straightening items).
Persistent self-doubt and second-guessing is a common feature of anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder and OCD. In some cases, the doubt may revolve around a question that’s central to a person’s identity.
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