Now that the holidays are behind us, and we’ve moved into a new year, you might be finding yourself still feeling keyed up or stressed out, and you don’t know why.
One of the questions I’m asked, frequently, is “How do I know if I have an anxiety disorder?”
So I wanted to write this post to explore how you recognize anxiety in yourself or someone you love.
Anxiety is one of the most prevalent illnesses in the world- impacting about 34% of the world’s population at any time, according to the National Insitutes of Health.
Yet anxiety disorder is not something that is widely discussed, and many times people who suffer from anxiety don’t even know they have it. They just know they feel terrible.
So how do you know if you’re experiencing an anxiety disorder?
#1: You feel very distressed and upset; and you may feel you’re over-reacting.
Of course, it’s normal to feel worried and upset when you get bad news. Yet people who have an anxiety disorder are worried all the time- about many things. The stress and worry consumes you; you don’t have a lot of room for much else in your life.
#2: You are distressed most of the time; and it seems to be getting worse.
It started small, such as a discomfort of going out to crowded shopping malls, but it’s steadily progressing to the point where you don’t want to leave your house. Or you used to avoid one particular social event, but now you’re avoiding all social events.
#3: You go out of your way to avoid what you fear.
Your life is being impacted and changed by your anxiety level. Where you used to enjoy traveling by plane, now you only drive. Or you avoid taking on new challenges or having new experiences because the uncertainty and fear is just too much.
#4: Your worries begin to impact your daily life.
You start to have sleep or eating difficulties. You lose interest in activities you previously enjoyed. You have difficulty completing your work on time because you are worried it’s not perfect, or you worry that someone will criticize you. Gradually, you start to feel increasingly alone, just you and your worries.
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to seek out professional help.
Anxiety responds well to professional care, and a skilled therapist can help you navigate through your anxiety.
If you feel you could benefit from additional strategies to manage stress and lower your anxiety, we can help! Give us a call at (716) 926-6009 or click here to schedule an appointment.