Do I Have Anxiety?
Do I Have Anxiety?
Anxiety is a normal part of healthy living, we all get nervous or anxious every now and then, for instance, public speaking and financial hardship are two very common causes of stress and anxiety.
If the nervousness or anxiety begins happening frequently, at an intensity that is disrupting your life the chances are you may have a disorder.
If you experience any of these symptoms on a regular basis it is time to talk to your doctor
If you have excessive ongoing worries and persistent anxious thoughts during most days of the week at an intensity level that affects your daily life, and symptoms like fatigue, having an unrealistic view on situations, being restless, feeling edgy, experiencing ongoing muscle tension, sleep disturbance and difficulty concentrating, then you may have Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
If you have trouble falling asleep and it’s the night before your big job interview, or you have a public speaking engagement the next morning, this is normal.
If you have trouble falling asleep on an ongoing basis and you find your mind racing with thoughts which make you agitated, worried or nervous; whether you are thinking about specific problems or nothing in particular, then this may be the sign of an anxiety disorder.
Irrational fears (Phobias)
Unlike generalized anxiety disorders a phobia is an overwhelming fear of a situation like crowds, or things like animals, insects, clowns or even going outside your house. If your fear is overwhelming to the point it disrupts your life and is completely out of proportion to any risk involved, then you may have a phobia.
Clenching your jaw, balling your fists, constantly hunching your shoulders and carrying around muscular tension throughout your body are often a symptom of anxiety disorders. These symptoms can be so common and happen so often that people don’t even realize that they are doing it.
Regular exercise can help alleviate these symptoms and keep your tension at a minimum.
If you have an upcoming event such as meeting you in-laws for the first time or having to address a group of people, and you feel nervous, scared or worried. If you can’t stop thinking about the event to the point it is affecting your everyday life, you may have social phobia (a form of social anxiety disorder)
It is not unusual for someone suffering with social phobia to worry for days, or even weeks before the planned event and still be concerned even when the event is over, worrying about how well it went and what the audience thought of them.
If every day situations like having a conversation with a stranger or going to a party and having to eat and drink in front of other people make you worried, scared, nervous or agitated then you may have social anxiety.
The situation does not have to be huge or important like addressing the next board meeting. In most social anxiety cases the fear is provoked by simple everyday situations that other people would find enjoyable
When put into a social situation people with social anxiety disorder may feel like everybody is watching them, they may blush, sweat, feel nauseas, find themselves trembling and have difficulty communicating with other people.
A panic attack is an overwhelming wave of fear which can last for minutes, leaving you feeling helpless. The physiological aspects of a panic attack can be just as frightening.
- Shortness of breath
- Pounding or racing heart beat
- Weakness or dizziness
- Sweating profusely
- Tingling or numb hands and feet
- Feeling hot or cold
- Stomach and chest pains
Having a panic attack does not mean that you have an anxiety disorder, but if you experience them frequently see your doctor. You may have panic disorder.
People who have panic disorder tend to live in a state of fear, worried about when their next attack will occur and what the trigger will be. They tend to stay away from places and situations which have caused an attack in the past.
If you have had a past traumatic event and you constantly re-experience the trauma through very distressing memories, flashbacks and nightmares you may be experiencing post traumatic stress disorder, (PTSD) a psychiatric disorder which can happen after witnessing or experiencing a traumatic or life threatening event such as military combat, terrorist attacks, natural disasters and sexual assault
PTSD sufferers tend to be emotionally numb and avoid people, places and activities which remind them of the trauma.
If you are constantly judging yourself and have a high level of anticipatory anxiety about making mistakes, or everything has to be absolutely perfect before it meets your personal standard, you would be known as a perfectionist. This may be a symptom of many anxiety disorders and is very common in obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
Compulsive behaviors (OCD)
If you are obsessive and have intrusive thoughts like thinking about hurting someone, along with compulsive behavior, whether it is physical behavior like fear of contamination by shaking hands or mental behavior like repeating I will be fine to yourself over and over again, you may be suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder.
Compulsive behavior and obsessive thinking become a disorder when completing the behaviors becomes the driving force of your life and starts to interfere with everyday normal living. For example if you were obsessed with germs from shaking hands and somebody grabbed you by the hand you may go into a panic and frantically wash your hands. (This is not normal)