Typically, anxiety has an easily explained root cause like the test and the first date mentioned earlier. However, some people struggle with anxiety without being able to pinpoint just what is making them feel that way. They could be laying in bed and find themselves worrying without knowing just what it is they are worried about.
When anxiety begins to bleed into one’s everyday life, affecting their mental health, physical wellbeing, and quality of relationships, they may be struggling with an anxiety disorder.
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is an emotion that is associated with feelings of worry, panic, and fear. While the emotion is normal, excessive feelings of anxiety are not. When one is feeling panicked, fearful, or worried at seemingly random moments or for things that may seem small, they could be dealing with an anxiety disorder.
Different Forms of Anxiety
Anxiety can take on many different shapes and forms. There are several different anxiety disorders, including:
- Generalized anxiety. This form covers feelings of anxiety over a large range of topics. When one is struggling with generalized anxiety, they find their worries feel out of control, taking away from their ability to enjoy life.
- Panic disorder. This form of anxiety materializes in the form of panic attacks. When one struggles with a panic disorder, they tend to suffer from panic attacks so often, it begins to negatively impact their life.
- Social anxiety (also known as social phobia). This form of anxiety includes worries and fears surrounding social settings. Those struggling with social anxiety find themselves afraid of being judged, ridiculed, or critiqued by others. This fear causes intense discomfort in social settings.
- Phobias. This form of anxiety covers extreme fears. It can include fears like heights, darkness, blood, and many other things. Those who struggle with phobias tend to avoid their fears at all costs, which can begin to negatively impact their quality of life. Typically, the fears must last longer than six months before they are considered a phobia.
- Separation anxiety. This form of anxiety materializes as a fear of being separated from an attachment figure. While mild separation anxiety in young children can be normal, excessive separation anxiety can begin to negatively impact both the sufferer and the attachment figure.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD is its own type of mental health disorder but includes symptoms of anxiety. It typically occurs after one experiences or witnesses a traumatic event and can cause nightmares, flashbacks, fears, depression, and intense anxiety.
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). OCD is also its own form of mental health disorder but includes intense feelings of anxiety. OCD is characterized by having obsessive, unwanted thoughts that lead to a need to do certain things repeatedly.
Signs and Symptoms of Anxiety
Anxiety can look different in everyone. The symptoms one shows externally and feels internally can be influenced by many factors, including genetics, their environment, the type of anxiety they have, and their personality. Despite this, there are a few symptoms you can watch for if you believe that you or a loved one may be struggling with anxiety.
Because anxiety is our body’s response to stressful and dangerous situations, it can cause physical responses within one’s body. This is because anxiety causes a physiological response that spikes certain hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. Physical symptoms of anxiety include:
- Shaking or trembling
- Feeling numb
- A racing heart
- Stomach problems
- Feeling restless or overtired
- Changes in body temperature
Those experiencing anxiety will also deal with internal issues. Their brain will respond psychologically to protect them from the perceived danger causing their feelings of stress and anxiety. The psychological symptoms of anxiety include:
- Feelings of intense worry, fear, or impending doom
- Panic attacks
- Foggy brain
- An inability to stop thinking about one’s worries
- Feeling as though one’s worries are out of control
- Avoiding anything that may trigger one’s anxiety
While some of these symptoms can appear as a normal response to stressful or anxiety-inducing situations, like losing your wallet or presenting in front of a large class, an anxiety disorder can cause them to begin to negatively impact one’s entire life. If you are struggling with one or more of these symptoms for longer than two weeks, reaching out to a mental health professional may be just what you need to get on the right track to feeling better.
Coping with Anxiety
Anxiety can be difficult to deal with. Pairing healthy coping strategies with treatment that is recommended by a health professional can get you on the right track to feeling happier and healthier. Healthy and productive coping strategies for anxiety include:
- Mindfulness techniques. Mindfulness has been proven to be an effective coping strategy for those suffering from anxiety. There are tons of mindfulness techniques you can try, like yoga, breathing exercises, and mindful meditation.
- Talking to someone. Talking about your issues has been proven to be an effective strategy for coping with anxiety. When you are feeling overwhelmed with thoughts, feelings, or emotions, talking to somebody you trust can help you feel supported and validated in your feelings. So, open up to your friends or family about the issues that are weighing you down.
- Taking care of your physical health. Your mental and physical health are closely intertwined, meaning that when one suffers, they both suffer. If you are struggling with anxiety, it can be easy to form unhealthy coping habits to keep yourself in your comfort zone, but this will only cause you to fall deeper into the mental health condition. Take the time to get outside, move your body, feed yourself nourishing foods, get enough sleep, and cut back on substances like caffeine and alcohol.
- Reaching out to a mental health professional. The best thing you can do for yourself when struggling with anxiety is reach out to a therapist. In therapy, you will be able to learn why you are feeling this way, healthy coping mechanisms, and find the right treatment for you.
How Telehealth Can Help
Anxiety is tough. Know that you are not alone. Seeking the help of a mental health professional is critical to helping you heal. However, when you are struggling with anxiety, going to a therapist can feel difficult. Telehealth therapy can grant you the perfect opportunity to seek therapy from the comfort of your home, allowing you to get the treatment you need.