Anxiety is a normal emotion. Every individual feels anxious once in a while. It’s how our brain responds to stressful events like moving to a new place, loss of job, starting a new school or financial troubles.
You may be scared or worried before an important job interview, before taking a test or before making any kind of crucial life altering decisions. It is perfectly normal.
However, there is a fine line between anxiety and anxiety disorder. When you start to experience symptoms of anxiety that are far more severe than the events that triggered them, you should open your mind to face that you may be having an anxiety disorder. This also applies to close family member or friends. They need to be vigilant if they have even a slightest of doubt that their friend or relative is going through some mental struggle.
Before diving into the signs and symptoms that one may go through when having an anxiety disorder, we need to be aware of what exactly causes them. Researchers are not exactly aware of what brings on anxiety disorder as several factors plays a role in it.
Causes of anxiety disorder
- Genetics: Anxiety disorders can run in families.
- Environmental stress: It refers to stressful life events that one may have gone through such as childhood abuse, sexual abuse, and trauma, loss of a loved one, accidents or a witness to some kind of violence.
- Substance abuse: Anxiety disorder is often associated with alcohol and substance use. Professionals have reported that excessive drinking may worsen anxiety the next day. Some may even use these substances to hide their anxiety symptoms.
- Medical conditions: Some underlying medical condition such as diabetes, cancer, history of mental illnesses, or chronic pain can worsen your anxiety. Similarly, constant worrying about your loved ones suffering from any medical illness can make you feel overwhelmed and anxious.
- Low self-esteem: When you perceive yourself in a negative light, it might make you feel nervous to share your thoughts and approach anyone in a public setting. It may cause you to develop social anxiety.
When you are well versed on what can exactly cause anxiety to you or anyone around you, you should be alert of any kind signs they may experience. When you see anyone showing any of the following signs, don’t hesitate to lend a supporting shoulder.
Signs of Anxiety Disorder
1. Excessive worrying
This is one of the most common symptoms of an anxiety disorder. People often mistakes worrying associated with anxiety disorders as overreaction or too dramatic when in reality the problem is much severe. The worrying might totally disconnect with the event that triggered it and can actually occur as a response to every other normal situation. This can actually hamper one’s daily life activities. When you are suffering from an anxiety disorder, the worrying may occur on most days for at least six months and may be difficult to control.
This might be surprising for some as anxiety is usually associated with hyperactivity. It can be as a result of other symptoms of anxiety like insomnia. While fatigue alone is not enough to diagnose whether a person is having an anxiety disorder but it is important to be aware that it can also be a sign.
3. Difficulty in concentration
This is also assumed to be a common of sign of anxiety. Many studies have suggested that about ninety percent of people with anxiety disorder have difficulty in concentrating at things. The worse the anxiety is, the more difficult it is.
4. Excessive irritability
People with anxiety are also prone to experience excessive irritability. From minor things to major events, anything can cause them irritation. It can be an event or just a mere presence of a person they don’t want to meet. Sometimes, the reason for their irritation can be disproportionate to the event they are mentioning.
5. Sleep problems
Trouble falling asleep or waking up at the middle of the night are the most common sleep problems associated with anxiety disorder. Many people with this disorder suffer from insomnia as well. However, it is unclear if anxiety causes insomnia or insomnia contributes to anxiety or both.
6. Panic attacks
Panic attacks or recurring panic attacks is strongly associated with anxiety disorder. This is most common in panic anxiety disorder. When a person is having a panic attack, they go through an overwhelming sensation of fear that can be devastating. This is usually characterized by excessive sweating, rapid heartbeat, nausea, shortness of breath, shaking, and fear of dying or losing control.
7. Obsessively avoiding social situations
People often mistakes shyness or fear of public speaking as a sign of social anxiety disorder, but it is far from the complete truth. If you or anyone around you are feeling or display signs of social anxiety disorder you would:
- Be scared of judged by others in social situations
- Be fearful of accidentally offending someone
- Be fearful of being embarrassed in front of everyone
- Be fearful of being the center of attention
Social anxiety disorder is also associated with low self-esteem, depression and self-criticisms. People with this type of disorder may appear shy or quiet but they might be anxious or distressed on the inside.
Restlessness may not appear in all the people suffering from anxiety but it is definitely one of the red flags hinting that something might be seriously wrong. This might be common among children and teens. If you or anyone around you starts to exhibit signs of restlessness on most days for more than six months, it may be a sign of anxiety disorder.
Management of Anxiety Disorder
We have noted some tips that might help you or anyone around you control your anxiety problem.
- Take help from a health professional. Don’t hesitate to approach a doctor regarding your mental health. Don’t hesitate to ask a question when something is bothering you. Professional help is the best way to tackle with your struggles.
- Learn about your disorder: The more you know, the better you will be prepared. If you are unaware about your own disorder, it will be hard for any other person, friends, family or doctor, to help you.
- Avoid foods or drinks that can worsen your condition. Try to avoid foods or drinks with caffeine as caffeine is considered to be mood altering drug and thus, can worsen your anxiety.
- Try to get better sleep. Sleep problems and anxiety is often strongly associated. Try to develop a bed routine or consult your doctor if you have serious sleep problems.
- Exercise: Any kind of exercise such as gym, yoga or aerobics or dance can help you release some of the tension you are having. Exercise is always a top recommendation to beat any kind of mental stress. Consult a doctor if you are not sure on the right type of exercise for you.
- Surround yourself with companies whom you trust. Loneliness can often worsen your anxiety. Try to get together with your friends at any chance you get. If you are living alone, stay in touch through chat, calls or video calls. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your family or friends if you are having trouble staying alone. Go out and about once in a while.