As the most common mental illness, anxiety affects 40 MILLION people in the United States; and that is just the number of adults. Kids struggle with anxiety as well, but their symptoms often go undetected.
Anxiety is a tricky disorder that stems from mental/emotional factors, physical factors, environmental factors or, more often than not, a combination of the three.
While there is no “cure-all” for anxiety, the best way to cope with it is to get to its root and understand where it stems from.
Below are five well-known, along with five lesser-known signs of anxiety:
1. Constant Worry
One of the most notorious ways that anxiety manifests itself is in the form of worry. While everybody has experienced worry to some extent, people who struggle with anxiety take it a step further. Their worry is uncontrollable and often irrational. It’s not uncommon for those diagnosed with anxiety to lose sleep at night or be unable to concentrate at work because of their anxiety.
2. Rapid Breathing
When you think of a panic attack, what’s the first thought that comes to mind? Is it a mental image of someone hyperventilating? Increased heart rate, rapid breathing, and even heart palpitations are common signs of panic attacks as well as generalized anxiety.
3. Stomach Problems
Have you ever experienced an upset stomach that wasn’t the result of an illness? Maybe before giving an important presentation or submitting an application for a job you really wanted? That stomach-dropping, too-nervous-to-eat feeling is common for those with anxiety. But those feelings don’t just occur before big events, they arise because of little things that others may not think twice about.
4. Concern About What Others Think
A lot of anxieties stem from fear or worry that you aren’t good enough. Anxiety feeds off of opinions – either your opinion of yourself or those from others. While this concern is highest in those who struggle with social anxiety, it’s a symptom of most other anxieties as well.
5. Irritability/Mood Changes
Irritability is a red flag that someone might be struggling with anxiety. The change in mood could be a result of many different things: a lack of sleep, extreme stress, or even physical manifestations. The debilitating nature of anxiety can cause it to take control over your mood.
1. Unusual Bodily Sensations
Our bodies react to stressors with a fight-or-flight response. This response can often elicit feelings of physical strangeness and odd bodily sensations. For example, people with anxiety have complained of experiencing a burning feeling in their ears; others have noted tingling in their arms or legs.
2. OCD Behaviors
Many people don’t realize that OCD is actually a form of anxiety. People with OCD display irrational behaviors that are usually a manifestation of anxious thoughts. Checking to be sure the stove is off or the door is locked when they haven’t cooked or left the house are common examples of this.
3. Array of Physical Symptoms
Anxiety has been known to manifest itself physically. When our brain undergoes stress, it alerts our body, often resulting in pain (i.e.: muscle tension or constricted and diverted blood flow). Headaches, neck tension, and chest pain are all very real signs of anxiety.
4. Chronic Diseases and Disorders
Anxiety doesn’t just manifest itself physically in minor ways, it can have a major impact as well. In recent studies, researchers have proven that anxiety can distress our bodies to the point of heart disease, respiratory disorders, or gastrointestinal disorders. A general rule of thumb is that the more serious the anxiety, the more uncommon the symptoms.
5. Sense of Impending Doom
We’ve established that anxiety interferes with a person’s lifestyle, but to what extent? In more serious cases of anxiety, it can be a complete lifestyle disruption. People with severe anxiety are constantly on high alert, fearing that something will go wrong at any second.
If you’re experiencing some of the signs described above, please contact me. Together, we can get to the root of your anxiety and work to help you cope with and overcome your anxiety for a more peaceful, relaxing life.