Do I Have An Anxiety Disorder?

Do I have an Anxiety Disorder?

Experiencing anxiety every once in a while is perfectly normal. These feelings can occur in uncertain situations, like a job interview, before giving a presentation, or during a confrontation. When anxiety becomes severe, lasting, and hinders daily life, it may indicate an anxiety disorder.

Do I Have An Anxiety Disorder?

What are anxiety disorders? How do you know if you have one? Below, we’ll clarify the distinction between typical anxiety and anxiety disorders, aiding you in deciding whether it’s necessary to seek assistance from a mental health professional.

What Is Anxiety Disorder?

Anxiety disorders involve specific mental health conditions marked by intense fear or worry. Generalized anxiety disorder, agoraphobia, selective mutism, social anxiety disorder, separation anxiety disorder, and phobias are all considered anxiety disorders.

Of all the mental disorders, anxiety disorders are the most common among Americans. Everyone has physical and mental responses to a perceived threat, regardless of the type of anxiety disorder, although the symptoms can differ greatly from person to person.

Types Of Anxiety Disorders

The following are examples of the most commonly experienced anxiety disorders:

  •  Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
  •  Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD)
  •  Panic Disorder
  •  Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  •  Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  •  Specific types of phobias, such as agoraphobia and claustrophobia

Subset Anxiety Disorders

If you find yourself grappling with persistent and overwhelming worry or fear in response to a specific object or situation, you may be dealing with specific phobias. Specific phobias involve an intense and irrational fear of a particular object, creature, or scenario.

These fears are often disproportionate to any real danger posed by the object or situation. Specific phobias often stem from experiencing a traumatic event or witnessing someone else undergo trauma related to the specific trigger. Genetics can also play a role, including specific phobias, that can run in families.

Physical symptoms can manifest as well, and they can be alarming. Rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, and chest pain are common physiological responses when facing a feared object or situation. These physical manifestations can further exacerbate the intense fear associated with specific phobias. For those grappling with these symptoms, seeking help from a mental health professional is crucial.

Signs And Symptoms Of Anxiety Disorders

The signs and symptoms vary between types of anxiety disorders and depend on several factors, including the experiences, and the overall health and well-being of the individual. However, anxiety disorders commonly exhibit the following signs and symptoms:

  • Excessive worry
  • Feelings of restlessness or being on edge
  • Muscle tension
  • Increased heart rate and palpitations
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Difficult concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Sleep disruptions

It isn’t uncommon for those who suffer to experience any combination of the above-mentioned symptoms. Additionally, the severity of the symptoms can vary. In some cases, symptoms can become so severe that they can disrupt an individual’s overall quality of life and general well-being.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a highly effective therapeutic approach for managing specific phobias, people with anxiety disorders, as well as other common mental health conditions. CBT focuses on identifying and challenging negative thought patterns that contribute to anxiety. It involves gradually exposing individuals to the feared object or situation, and teaching them coping mechanisms to deal with their anxiety.

Additionally, counselors may guide individuals in managing the side effects of anxiety, such as a rapid heartbeat and shortness of breath, through relaxation techniques and controlled breathing exercises. For people with anxiety, CBT can be a beacon of hope, enabling them to regain control over their lives and find relief from their phobias.

Normal Anxiety vs Anxiety Disorder

It’s important to note that it is normal to experience anxiety, as it is a human response to perceived dangers, which activates the fight or flight response, allowing us to seek safety. However, in some cases, anxiety can become chronic and unrelenting, and it can interrupt your everyday life, impeding personal and professional relationships, and disrupting your overall happiness.

If you or someone you love is experiencing anxiety over an extended period of time (usually six months or longer) if the symptoms worsen over time, and if you find relaxation techniques have little to no effect, or are experiencing panic attacks or phobias, it might be time to seek the help of a professional.

Overcoming Anxiety

Regular anxiety is a normal part of life; however, then the symptoms become severe, last for extended periods of time, or worsen over time, or if they are negatively impacting your quality of life, you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder and professional help may be necessary to overcome the condition, and find a treatment for anxiety disorders.

Blue Sky Counseling – Trauma Therapy Omaha, NE

I, Carly Spring, M.S., LIMHP, LADC, CPC, offer my specialized expertise to assist in the healing process to anyone who may be experiencing and suffering from a vast spectrum of mental health issues. Such mental health issues include behavioral problems, anxiety, depression, grief, loss, trauma, addiction issues, and life transitions. I believe strongly in applying a holistic perspective addressing your whole person not just the bits and pieces of you. Contact us with any questions or to talk with a mental health counselor in Omaha today.