The Difference Between Occasional Anxiety and an Anxiety Disorder

It’s normal to feel anxious from time to time due to the typical stresses of day-to-day life. Whether it be related to work, school, or issues within one’s personal life, everyone is bound to experience this feeling at one point or another. Common symptoms included an upset stomach, sweaty palms, and a racing heart. In many cases, these symptoms subside when whatever the stressful issue is has been resolved. However, for some people, anxiety is not just an occasional thing, but that something occurs on a regular basis, and it can be very debilitating. It’s essential to be able to recognize the difference between occasional anxiety and having an anxiety disorder so you can seek treatment if necessary.

Recognizing Common Anxiety Symptoms

Not everyone who experiences anxiety occasionally has an actual anxiety disorder. However, it can still be helpful to recognize the most common symptoms related to experiencing anxiety. Some examples include:

  • Feelings of tension and nervousness
  • High heart rate
  • Heavy breathing
  • Sweating
  • Shaking
  • Feelings of weakness or fatigue
  • Feeling a sense of panic
  • An inability to control one’s sense of worry
  • Digestive issues
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Trouble focusing on the task at hand.

Determining if Your Anxiety is Excessive

There are some main factors to consider when determining whether you have occasional anxiety or deal with an anxiety disorder. Some questions to ask yourself include:

  • Does your anxiety prevent you from keeping up with your personal and professional responsibilities?
  • Does your anxiety persist over an extended period of time?
  • Does your anxiety cause you to avoid social situations?
  • Has your anxiety begun affecting your relationships with others?
  • Do you feel that your anxiety is beginning to affect your overall quality of life?

If your answer was yes to these questions, you may consider seeking treatment for an anxiety disorder.

The Different Types of Anxiety Disorders

There are multiple types of anxiety disorders, and treatment may vary depending on which one a patient is suffering from. It is also possible to have more than one type of anxiety.

#1.) Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Someone who suffers from this condition will deal with constant and excessive worrying. They may frequently overthink things and blow things out of proportion in their mind, making them out to be a bigger problem than necessary. Someone with this condition will typically find it difficult or impossible to control their worrying. It can occur at any age in both men and women.

#2.) Social Anxiety Disorder: Someone with a social anxiety disorder will become very anxious when placed in social situations, especially in large groups or when meeting people for the first time. They may have difficulty making conversation in social situations and may fear that people are judging them. They may overthink their words and fear embarrassing themselves in front of others.

#3.) Panic Disorder: Some with this disorder will experience a sudden and very intense sense of overwhelmingness that they are unable to control. It can last anywhere from several minutes to hours and can be very excruciating. It is often associated with physical symptoms like nausea, throat tightness, shortness of breath, chest pain, and stomach cramps. In fact, it can be so intense that it can even be mistaken for a serious health complication like a heart attack or stroke.

Treating an Anxiety Disorder

Anxiety disorders are prevalent, and there is nothing to be ashamed of. Luckily, there are multiple types of treatment that can help alleviate symptoms or eliminate them completely. If you are struggling with an anxiety disorder, don’t hesitate to ask your primary care provider for help. Your doctor will likely recommend that you attend therapy which can help you work through your emotions in a productive way and learn how to handle stress better. In some cases, prescription medication is also recommended to treat anxiety.

In addition to traditional treatment, there are some other things you can do every day that may help with your anxiety. Some examples include:

  • Get out into nature
  • Make sure you’re eating healthy, well-balanced meals
  • Take frequent breaks from social media
  • Turn off the news if it causes you stress
  • Make sure you’re exercising frequently
  • Try out yoga or a different type of meditation
  • Use journaling to help work through your emotions
  • Spend time speaking with a trusted family member or friend
  • Listen to soothing music
  • Spend time with an emotional support animal

If you are receiving treatment for anxiety and don’t find that you’re experiencing any relief as time goes on, be sure to reach back out to your doctor as your treatment plan may need to be adjusted.

While it is normal to be anxious from time to time due to stressful situations in life, anxiety is an everyday battle and can be very debilitating for some people. Some of the most common anxiety symptoms include feelings of tension, heavy breathing, sweating, a sense of panic, and digestive issues. If you’re wondering whether or not your anxiety is excessive and requires treatment, consider how frequently it occurs and what impact, if any, it has on your ability to keep up with day-to-day tasks. Your doctor can help provide you with a diagnosis and help you begin treatment. Therapy and, in some cases, prescription medication, are typical treatment options. You can also try out some other ways to alleviate anxiety symptoms, such as journaling, meditation, and physical exercise. At Achieve Concierge, we can help you achieve better mental health. Call (619) 393-5871 today.

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