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Feeling unsettled? How to spot your anxiety symptoms
Feeling anxious or unsettled every once in awhile is completely normal. Many people experience anxiety symptoms before giving a big presentation, when trying something for the first time, before getting on stage to speak at a conference, or when waiting on test results to come back from the doctor. But, for those of us challenged by anxiety on a regular basis, these feelings of worry don’t go away even after the temporary stressor is removed. Those suffering from anxiety experience more than temporary fear, worry, or restlessness, so much so that it oftens interrupts or impacts their daily life.
How can you tell if you fall into this latter category and need to see a professional in regards to your anxiety symptoms? Since anxiety comes in many different forms, including social anxiety, phobia, and panic attacks, you may want to talk to your doctor if you experience any of the following signs and symptoms on a regular basis. Specifically, you may want to talk to your doctor if these signs and anxiety symptoms are interfering with your ability to complete your regular, day-to-day tasks and activities.
- You experience an excessive amount of worry on a regular basis. Of course, many of us experience worry from time to time, but those suffering from anxiety have little luck at controlling their worry. In addition, they experience this worry almost daily and often for some months in a row. For many, the worry and anxiousness begins to disrupt their normal day-to-day life and activities. As Sally Winston, PsyD, co-director of the Anxiety and Stress Disorder Institute of Maryland in Towson said, “The distinction between an anxiety disorder and just having normal anxiety is whether your emotions are causing a lot of suffering and dysfunction”.
- You feel restless, on edge, or wound up a lot of the time. Maybe you can’t get comfortable, you have difficulty sitting still, or you feel an underlying pull to constantly fidget and move your body. You may also want to see a doctor about your anxiety symptoms if you experience a pounding or racing heart, a shortness of breath, or other physical symptoms including your heart or your breathing.
- You become easily fatigued. Many suffering with anxiety report a lack of energy that leaves them with impaired memory and concentration or even slower mental processes. This lack of energy may also cause drowsiness, weakness, and difficulty keeping up with daily activities. As a result, you may find yourself less excited to meet up with friends, stay up to date on the news or current events, or compete for that new position at work.
- Your body feels tight, almost as if it’s been clenching itself or holding onto something for too long. Often, those experiencing anxiety feel the symptoms of that anxiety in their body. Your muscles may feel more constricted than usual, or as a whole you may not feel as relaxed as you think you should be, even when at the beach or on a peaceful walk.
- You have difficulty falling asleep, or even difficulty staying asleep. You often find yourself up at night worrying about something in particular or sometimes it may be about nothing at all. It might often feel as if your mind is racing and wired, regardless of the time of day. This difficulty falling or staying asleep may result in increased fatigue and exhaustion during the day.
- You experience a difficulty concentrating on tasks during the day or while at work. You may often feel irritable, jumpy, or tense, even while doing typical day-to-day tasks or when talking to and enjoying the company of loved ones.
If you experience any of these anxiety symptoms on a regular basis, or if it is interfering with your day-to-day life and activities, it might be time to see your doctor. Also know that if you experience any of these anxiety symptoms, you are not alone. 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.”
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.
Anxiety Fatigue and How it Affects Modern Living. In Calm Clinic. Retrieved from http://www.calmclinic.com/anxiety-symptoms/fatigue.