Signs, Symptoms, and Treatment
We all know what anxiety feels like. Our heart pounds before a big presentation or a tough exam. We get butterflies in our stomach during a blind date. We worry and fret over family problems or feel jittery at the prospect of asking the boss for a raise. However, if worries and fears are preventing you from living your life the way you'd like to, you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder. The good news is, there are many anxiety treatments and self-help strategies that can help you reduce your anxiety symptoms and take back control of your life.
Understanding anxiety disorders
It’s normal to worry and feel tense or scared when under pressure or facing a stressful situation. Anxiety is the body’s natural response to danger, an automatic alarm that goes off when we feel threatened.
Although it may be unpleasant, anxiety isn’t always a bad thing. In fact, anxiety can help us stay alert and focused, spur us to action, and motivate us to solve problems. But when anxiety is constant or overwhelming, when it interferes with your relationships and activities—that’s when you’ve crossed the line from normal anxiety into the territory of anxiety disorders.
Do you have an anxiety disorder?
If you identify with several of the following signs and symptoms, and they just won’t go away, you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder.
Are you constantly tense, worried, or on edge?
Does your anxiety interfere with your work, school, or family responsibilities?
Are you plagued by fears that you know are irrational, but can’t shake?
Do you believe that something bad will happen if certain things aren’t done a certain way?
Do you avoid everyday situations or activities because they make you anxious?
Do you experience sudden, unexpected attacks of heart-pounding panic?
Do you feel like danger and catastrophe are around every corner?
Signs and symptoms of anxiety disorders
Because the anxiety disorders are a group of related conditions rather than a single disorder, they can look very different from person to person. One individual may suffer from intense anxiety attacks that strike without warning, while another gets panicky at the thought of mingling at a party. Someone else may struggle with a disabling fear of driving or uncontrollable, intrusive thoughts. Still another may live in a constant state of tension, worrying about anything and everything.