We all experience feelings of stress and anxiety every now and then.
In fact, it is extremely normal to feel anxious before events that are important to us such as an interview, delivering a public lecture, first day at work, or the wedding day.
However, you know something is wrong when your anxiety grows to a level where it starts to interfere with your day to day life.
Sure there are ways to tell when this normal feeling turns into a mental disorder. But it isn’t always easy to spot the signs of anxiety disorder.
Anxiety manifests itself in different ways like panic attacks, phobias, and social anxiety. Unfortunately, the difference between a medical diagnosis and normal anxiety isn’t always clear.
There are 6 major types of anxiety disorders
1. Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
People with GAD are chronic worriers. They feel anxious all the time without knowing why and persistently feel that something bad is going to happen. Symptoms of GAD include insomnia, stomach upset, restlessness, and fatigue.
2. Anxiety attacks or panic disorder
People who go through panic attacks experience a sudden bout of overwhelming anxiety and fear. If left untreated panic attacks can lead to panic disorder and other problems. Symptoms include hyperventilating, sweating, trembling or shaking, fear of dying, losing control, or feeling like you’re going crazy.
3. Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
People with OCD may be too preoccupied with obsessive thoughts and behaviors like forgetting to turn off the gas stove or even hurting someone. They may also suffer from uncontrollable and unexplained compulsions, such as repeatedly washing their hands.
A phobia is an unexplained and exaggerated fear of specific things, activities or situations that may not have any real bearing on the person experiencing it. Common phobias include fear of heights, closed spaces, animals, flying and so on.
5. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
This can happen to people who have undergone a traumatic or frightening experience like a physical or sexual attack, major financial loss, unexpected death of a loved one, etc. People suffering from PTSD generally have scary thoughts and memories of that incident/event and tend to be emotionally numb.
6. Social anxiety disorder
This disorder leads to extreme discomfort to a person while being in everyday social situations. This is usually brought on by a fear of being judged, embarrassed or ridiculed in public by others.
Here are the 10 common signs of anxiety disorders
1. You Worry Way Too Much
Have you been constantly worrying for weeks or months on end, sometimes without even fully knowing the cause of it? If worrying has been hampering your normal routine and leaving you fatigued, chances are you suffer from an anxiety disorder. Another concern is that excessive worrying may get you hooked onto cigarettes, which are harmful for you. Avoid that, or get an e-cigarette which is a safer alternative as it doesn’t emit smoke, but only vapor.
2. You Always Have Trouble Sleeping
Do you perpetually have trouble falling asleep? Even if you do manage to fall asleep, do you have to make an effort to stay asleep? Sure, you’re going to toss and turn with excitement in your bed before your big presentation at work, but if it happens regularly without any particular reason, it might be a sign of an anxiety disorder.
3. Your Fears Are Unexplained
If you experience overwhelming and irrational fear of certain things, situations or animals which may not pose the slightest of risk to you in reality, then you might be suffering from an anxiety disorder. The person may not even be aware of such phobia until he actually confronts a specific situation and realizes that he may be unable to overcome the fear.
4. You Always Have Nausea/Stomach Cramps
Your gut is very sensitive to mental stress and vice versa. Your mental conditions may manifest themselves through your body, like affecting your digestive track and resulting in stomach aches, nausea, irritable bowel syndrome, indigestion, bloating and gas. These symptoms can occur without anxiety disorders too, but when they occur together, it can make things unbearable.
5. You’re Constantly Nervous
Do you find yourself feeling constantly jittery over nothing in particular? If the butterflies in your stomach always accompany you no matter where you go or what you do, then it can’t be good for you, neither emotionally or physiologically. You need to see a doctor for sure.
6. You Feel Extreme and Constant Self-Consciousness
If you feel like you’re the center of attention for all the wrong reasons at social do’s , you know something is not right – with you! Call your doctor and make an appointment.
7. You Flashback to a Particular Event
Does a particular bad memory keep running through your mind all the time, thereby affecting the way you function on an everyday basis? It could be anything from a traumatic event, to the loss of a loved one or anything that has impacted your life in a big way. If the answer to this is “yes”, then you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder.
8. You’re Obsessed with Perfection
If you incessantly worry about making mistakes or falling short of the highest standards of doing something, and get highly upset at what you consider “mediocre,” then you probably have an anxiety disorder.
9. You Always Experience Muscle Tension/Stiffness
Do you often find yourself persistently clenching your fists, gritting your jaw or flexing your body muscles as a reaction to coming face to face with certain people or situations? If yes, you need to see a mental health expert.
10. You’re Extremely Prone to Negative Thinking
People with an anxiety disorder have the tendency to automatically anticipate a negative outcome to everything. Whether it is related to their personal or professional life, their health, concern for a loved one, financial matter, and so on, the outlook towards it is invariably a negative one.
If you’re experiencing any of the above mentioned symptoms on a regular basis, then you might want to consult your doctor or mental health professional as soon as possible. Timely treatment can go a long way in helping bring these symptoms under control and allowing you to lead a normal healthy life.
Lindsay Fox is freelance writer and blogger and she writes for EcigaretteReviewed. In her spare time, she enjoys the outdoors with her husband and three young children.