Anxiety is a prevalent mental health disorder characterized by a constant state of worry or a strong desire to avoid danger. Everyone experiences worry about various things every now and then. Anxiety on a regular basis, on the other hand, could be more of a problem than you realize. Especially with the unexpected turn of events of the past year, we cannot deny the impact it has had on our mental health. Social restrictions, prohibitions on operating non-essential companies, and other measures aimed at reducing pandemic-related mortality and morbidity can lead to isolation and underemployment, increasing the risk of mental illness. According to a CDC study, the percentage of people with anxiety or depression symptoms in the previous 7 days climbed considerably between August 2020 and February 2021 (from 36.4% to 41.5%).
It's not always easy to tell when you've crossed the line from regular anxiety to an anxiety disorder. Recurrent social anxiety, phobias, and panic episodes are the most telling signs that something more serious is going on with anxiety. If your constant worry has taken over your life and you are frequently unable to function as a result of how persistent and intense your worry has become, you may want to seek professional assistance. Start by counting how many signs of an anxiety disorder you've had and then inform your doctor about it.
Anxiety disorders are characterized by constant everyday worry that has lasted for at least six months and is difficult to control. Your quality of life has been harmed, making it tough to concentrate and accomplish daily tasks, resulting in fatigue. Chronic worry can have such a negative impact on your daily life that it can influence your appetite, lifestyle choices, relationships, sleep cycle, and work performance. A lot of people who worry persistently may cope in such a way that they turn to unhealthy lifestyle habits like overeating, smoking cigarettes, or abusing alcohol and drugs for relief.
Often, a mental disorder such as anxiety can't only influence the mind, but also the physical aspect of an individual. Muscle tension can commonly result from restlessness and agitation, leading to chronic pain. Nervousness can induce persistent muscle tension by clenching your jaws or fists and flexing your muscles, which may develop into a more serious physical condition if it happens overtime.
It can be exhausting to have an all-or-nothing mindset. Perfectionism exacerbates anxiety by setting high expectations that you may not be able to meet due to your worry. In today’s world, it is easy to compare ourselves to others through the use of social media. Due to this, perfectionists strive towards an unrealistic goal, which sets them up for apparent failure from the start. Anxiety, together with other factors such as frustration, exhaustion, and lack of focus, might interfere with the completion of tasks to your high standards. Even so, the successful accomplishment of tasks is sometimes insufficient to alleviate worry. Self-criticism in perfectionists is relentless, and anxiety lingers as you anticipate the chances you might disappoint.
A certain level of self-doubt may be healthy, it can help you identify what things you might be doing wrong. However, unhealthy self-doubt happens when you have a hard time identifying things you might be doing right. It’s difficult to find motivation when you can’t perceive your own positive traits, which then interferes with your goals, talent, work, and relationships. Excessive self-doubt can become so parasitic that it feeds on your self-esteem and self-worth as it swallows more and more of you.
Panic is a sudden and uncontrollable episode of anxiety, accompanied by alarming physical symptoms that may feel like a heart attack. These symptoms can include breathing problems, dizziness, a pounding or racing heart, chest pains, or stomach pains. Sufferers will strive to avoid circumstances that they fear will trigger panic attacks, but this technique may prove ineffectual over time if new triggers emerge.
Constant feelings of self-consciousness in everyday situations resulting in blushing, difficulty speaking, or trembling might be a sign of a social anxiety disorder. You don’t need to be in a group of people to experience the effects of this disorder. Even a one-on-one conversation may be able to produce these symptoms. This feeling of fear and anxiety may lead to avoidance of situations involving other people, which can affect your relationships, daily routines, work, school, or other activities.
In general anxiety disorder, the fear is out of proportion to the actual situation and lasts generally six months or longer and causes problems in functioning. A specific phobia is an abnormally strong and persistent terror of a specific object, circumstance, or action that is not inherently dangerous. You may recognize that your phobia is unreasonable and/or excessive, but no matter how hard you try, you can't get it under control.
How can you overcome anxiety?
Everyone's experience of anxiety is unique, but none of us have to muscle through it alone. Medication can help but we have answers that work and do not require much pharmaceutical intervention.
To build your resilience in light of how common anxiety is day to day, acknowledge that you experience anxiety. Now, let's get you some relief. The symptoms take longer to lessen the longer you continue to ignore what is happening. Recognize it for what it is and treat it in whichever way works for you. Many people stop there and say “I am just an anxious person.” No. You are not stuck.
Here are some suggestions to help you manage your symptoms of anxiety:
- Grounding. Grounding is a crucial strategy for everyone who suffers from anxiety or panic attacks. The 5-4-3-2-1 approach is one of the many different grounding techniques that are used. Instead of concentrating on the nervous thoughts running through your head, you must utilize all five senses to count off the things that are real and in front of you.
- Meditation. Because it teaches the mind to focus, meditation is an excellent anxiety treatment because it prevents the mind from being overly hooked on unpleasant thoughts. When you meditate, you can exercise awareness so that when you experience worry, you can let go of thoughts or just notice them float in and out. You might have noticed that compulsive symptoms or anxiety grow when we are telling ourselves a story that we cannot or should not live up to or lean into. Exhale the old and inhale the new story. Being better starts with just being still and noticing what comes up.
- Self-Compassion Starts with Needs. We do not decrease anxiety by working harder on reducing anxiety … or by working harder at work … or by doing more with and for the house or kids. The trick is when one adds pause and 4-5 deep breaths, while literally suspending judgment towards oneself and others, the central nervous system responds. Little by little over time, we react less, and respond more. We can expect more rational outcomes from ourselves and engage in a lifestyle of self-compassion when we acknowledge the needs we have. Needs include: air and deep breathing, water, sleep, belonging, challenging tasks/work, food, safety, creative problem solving. Self-compassion is a lifestyle and mindset of meeting those needs.
- Medication. Consulting a psychiatrist about anti-depressants can actually reduce anxiety. If paired with new health behaviors like journaling, movement, nutrition, sleeping 8-9 hours per night, and healthy social ties, some prescriptions have the ability to relax the nerves so they do not fire as quickly. Medication has benefits and often temporary side effects that you should discuss with your healthcare provider beforehand so you can determine which will be most effective for you.
- Therapy. Participating in treatment that covers effective coping mechanisms provides relief for many people. Some people decide to combine therapy, group work and medication to achieve faster outcomes. There are different types of therapy to choose from based on your goals and timeline. Therapy can assist you in recognizing and modifying the conceptual connections between anxiety triggers and the ensuing actions. Group work is a supercharged form of therapy that increases self-awareness and healing.
Seek professional help
Anxiety is real for all of us. Fear is real. As you notice symptoms pop up, consider what parts of your life they are affecting. By seeking assistance, your anxiety can be treated so that you can move on to a peaceful, more optimistic way of life. Do not hesitate to contact us if you or a loved one has been exhibiting some of the symptoms listed above and your daily work or academic performance are severely impacted. You can select from a range of services from us to see which one is ideal for you. To help us get to know you better, you can fill out this brief assessment and verify your insurance.