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Feeling anxious? Understanding anxiety disorder symptoms
Many people feel anxious or worrisome at different points in their lives. However, some experience anxiety disorder symptoms that do not subside even when temporary stressors are removed.
For example, experiencing anxiety before competing in a competition, when giving a presentation to a supervisor at work, or before hopping on stage to speak in front of a large crowd is completely normal. However, if you continue to experience the signs and symptoms of anxiety long after the competition, presentation, or speech is complete, then you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder that requires treatment. This is especially true for those suffering from fear, worry, or restlessness that interferes with one’s day-to-day life and activities.
If you’re not sure whether or not you fall into this latter category and are advised to see a professional to diagnosis your anxiety disorder symptoms, then continue reading to better understand your symptoms. Since there are several types of anxiety disorders, you may want to consult your doctor if you suffer from any of the following symptoms on a regular basis, or if those symptoms impact your ability to perform everyday tasks.
- You often worry to an excessive amount and on a regular basis. As mentioned previously, many people experience thoughts of worry from time to time. Whether worrying about getting to work on time or worrying if a presentation will go well, worry itself is a normal emotion. However, those suffering from an anxiety disorder do not have much luck controlling or alleviating this worry. Instead, thoughts of worry are often experienced regularly for weeks or months at a time. For many, this worry will interfere with the ability to handle day-to-day tasks or interactions.
- You have trouble getting comfortable, have a difficult time sitting still, or constantly feel the need to fidget. You may feel restless, wound up, or uneasy. It may also be a good idea to talk with your doctor if you experience other physical symptoms, such as a racing heart or shortness of breath.
- You feel fatigued for the majority of the day. Many people with an anxiety disorder experience a lack of energy. This lack of energy may cause impaired memory or concentration that shows up as a slower mental process when at work or when tackling daily activities. This lack of energy may also show up as regular drowsiness, weakness, or difficulty participating in daily activities. You may want to talk with your doctor if you find yourself less interested in the things you used to enjoy, such as hanging out with friends, participating in hobbies, or staying up to date with current events.
- Your muscles feel tight, potentially feeling similar to a muscle that has been clenched or holding onto something for an extended period of time. Many who experience anxiety disorder symptoms feel those symptoms in their body. You might feel more tight than usual, or you may have difficulty relaxing even when doing relaxation activities such as when reading a book or meditating. Other physical symptoms you may experience include dry mouth, cold or sweaty hands or feet, heart palpitations, tingling or numbness in hands and feet, or nausea.
- Another symptom of anxiety often shows up at nighttime. You may have a hard time falling asleep, or a hard time staying asleep. If you find yourself worrying through the night about something in particular or even nothing at all, then you may want to speak with your doctor.
- An anxiety disorder may also leave you with a difficult time concentrating on tasks. If you often feel irritable, jumpy, or tense, even when enjoying the company of loved ones, then you may want to speak with your doctor.
If you experience one or many of these anxiety disorder symptoms regularly, or if it is impacting your ability to complete day-to-day activities, it might be a good idea to see your doctor. Your symptoms may be indicating one of several kinds of anxiety disorders, including:
- Generalized anxiety disorder.
- Panic disorder.
- Social anxiety disorder.
- Specific phobias.
According to National Alliance on Mental Illness, “Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health concern in the United States. An estimated 40 million adults in the U.S., or 18%, have an anxiety disorder. Approximately 8% of children and teenagers experience the negative impact of an anxiety disorder at school and at home. Most people develop symptoms of anxiety disorders before age 21 and women are 60% more likely to be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder than men.” If you experience one or many of these symptoms, you are not alone. Speak with your doctor today to better understand potential options for treatment.
Anxiety Disorders. (March 2016). In National Institute of Mental Health. Retrieved from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/anxiety-disorders/index.shtml
Anxiety Disorders. In National Alliance on Mental Illness. Retrieved from https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-Conditions/Anxiety-Disorders.
Understand the Facts. In Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Retrieved from https://www.adaa.org/understanding-anxiety.
Anxiety Fatigue and How it Affects Modern Living. In Calm Clinic. Retrieved from http://www.calmclinic.com/anxiety-symptoms/fatigue.