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Do I Have Extreme Anxiety

What You Can Do

Do I Have Social Anxiety Disorder? (How To Tell)

Based on your answers, we recommend:

  • Learning more about social anxiety and how to prevent it from becoming a problem in your life.

  • Check out Apps and Tools if you want to learn specific skills for managing social anxiety.

  • To find support in your community, online or over the phone go to the Get Support section.

  • Your answers suggest you might be experiencing some social anxiety. Mild social anxiety is common, particularly when we are around people who dont know us well or we are meeting for the first time and it often disappears as we get more comfortable in the situation. People who have this level of anxiety might have some ongoing concerns that other people arent forming a good impression of them.

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    You Answered Yes To Question

    If you answered yes to one or more of the questions, you might have an anxiety disorder. Most people deal with stress in their lives, but when stress begins to significantly interfere with our functioning and/or causes impairment, it might be more problematic than âeveryday stressâ. The good news is that anxiety disorders can be successfully treated. If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, and think that they are negatively interfering with your life, it might be time to seek treatment!

    It will be important to begin with a structured clinical evaluation by a professional to see if you meet criteria for an anxiety disorder, which will inform your treatment plan. Our mental health impacts many aspects of our lives, such as our physical health and our quality of life, which is why it is so important to address any mental health problems with effective treatments!

    This material is not a substitute for the advice of a licensed professional. To begin your search for a mental health professional, go to the ADAA’s Therapist Directory.

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    Adjustment Disorder With Anxiety

    Now perhaps you read all of the above and thought to yourself, Well I guess I dont think I have that many symptoms , maybe Im just overthinking it?

    Well there is a lighter form of anxiety, called Adjustment Disorder with Anxiety. Basically, this refers to when someone is experiencing anxiety that is specifically in response to a recent life event or an event that is still ongoing .

    This is one of the most common things I see in therapy, so, if this is you, youre in good company! The criteria is a lot smaller, and usually just refers to some self-reported anxiety about situations and we can generally somewhat easily point to an event that causes this anxiety.

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    Effects Of Anxiety On Your Body

    These can include:

    • a churning feeling in your stomach
    • feeling light-headed or dizzy
    • feeling restless or unable to sit still
    • headaches, backache or other aches and pains
    • faster breathing
    • a fast, thumping or irregular heartbeat
    • sweating or hot flushes
    • grinding your teeth, especially at night
    • needing the toilet more or less often
    • changes in your sex drive

    What Are The Different Types Of Anxiety Disorder

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    This section provides an overview of the most common types of anxiety disorders.

    • Generalised anxiety disorder
    • Post-traumatic stress disorder

    Generalised anxiety disorder

    GAD is common. The main symptom of GAD is over worrying about different activities and events. This may feel out of your control. You feel anxious a lot of the time if you have GAD. You might feel on edge and alert to your surroundings.

    This can affect your day-to-day life. You might find that it affects your ability to work, travel places or leave the house. You might also get tired easily or have trouble sleeping or concentrating. You might have physical symptoms, such as muscle tension and sweating.

    It is common to have other conditions such as depression or other anxiety disorders if you have GAD.

    GAD can be difficult to diagnose because it does not have some of the unique symptoms of other anxiety disorders. Your doctor is likely to say you have GAD if you have felt anxious for most days over six months and it has had a bad impact on areas of your life.

    Panic disorder

    You will have regular panic attacks with no particular trigger if you have panic disorder. They can happen suddenly and feel intense and frightening. You may also worry about having another panic attack.

    Panic disorder symptoms can include the following.

    You may also dissociate during a panic attack. Such as feeling detached from yourself.

    Social anxiety disorder

    Some common situations where you may experience anxiety are the following.

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    How To Stop Severe Anxiety Disorders

    If you feel your anxiety is out of your control and significantly impacting your ability to function in life, go see your primary care provider immediately. Each additional day you go without treatment reinforces the anxiety, making it stronger. Because anxiety affects so many individuals, there are several options available.

    Other anxiety reduction strategies like relaxation exercises and meditation may be less effective for severe anxiety, because the severity often makes spending time on those activities harder to accomplish. They may be useful in combination with other techniques, but should not be used alone.

    It is highly recommended to seek therapy to better tackle long term management of severe anxiety.

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    Anxiety And Panic Attacks

    Explains anxiety and panic attacks, including possible causes and how you can access treatment and support. Includes tips for helping yourself, and guidance for friends and family.

    Mae’r dudalen hon hefyd ar gael yn Gymraeg. This link will take you to a Welsh translation of this page.

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    Suffering From Severe Anxiety

    Anxiety is an incredibly stressful, but arguably manageable disorder. Many people still work, spend time with friends, and hold onto relationships while living with anxiety. But others are more affected by it, and some even struggle to complete the tasks of everyday life.

    The best way to characterize a severe anxiety disorder is one that is disabling or significantly impairs someone from managing their activities or responsibilities. For example:

    • Panic Disorder with Agoraphobia – Agoraphobia is a fear of being outdoors or in unfamiliar places. Panic disorder is generally characterized as with or without agoraphobia. Panic attacks can be disabling on their own, and so severe that hospitalization is required. However, the addition of agoraphobia worsens their symptoms and experiences, because it makes it difficult to go outside or enjoy any type of social life – and the anxiety a person does experience while outdoors is significant.
    • Severe Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – Some individuals suffer from severe OCD, which consists of being so engrossed in repetitive thoughts and the need to perform acts/compulsions in order to ease the anxiety caused by the thoughts. The degree of compulsions can make people unable to actually live their lives because they are forced to spend so much time acting out their compulsions.

    What Causes Anxiety Disorders

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    We dont fully understand what causes anxiety disorders. But it is thought that the following factors can cause anxiety.

    Genetics. Some people seem to be born more anxious than others. You may get anxiety through your genes.

    Life experience. This could be bad experiences such as being abused or losing a loved one. It could also include big changes in life such as moving home, losing your job or pregnancy.

    Drugs. Caffeine in coffee and alcohol can make you feel anxious. Illegal drugs, also known as street drugs can also have an effect.

    Circumstances. Sometimes you know what is causing your anxiety. When the problem goes, so does your anxiety.

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    How To Tell If You Have Anxiety: 10 Signs And Symptoms

    Anxiety can manifest itself in numerous ways and for many reasons. Important exams, having to make a speech, or going on a first date with someone can all be sources of nervousness or other feelings commonly associated with anxiety. However, these feelings can also be chronic and not based on specific scenarios and it could indicate an anxiety disorder. If you are unsure whether you are experiencing an anxiety disorder, this article will discuss the mental and physical symptoms so that you can learn how to tell if you have anxiety, and start managing it today.

    The Signs Of Anxiety

    People experience anxiety differently. And there are different types of anxiety disorders some people have generalized anxiety disorder. Others may live with panic disorder. Some people may have difficulty with specific phobias. Despite there being differences between the types, here are some of the most common hallmarks of an anxiety disorder:

  • Excessive Worrying
  • According to the National Institute of Mental Health, individuals with anxiety disorders often worry excessively or have a sense of dread, usually lasting six months or longer. These anxious feelings can stem from school, the workplace, social interactions, personal relationships, health, or finances, to name a few causes. For those with anxiety, keeping these feelings under control can be challenging, even if they realize that their worries or fears are irrational.

  • Difficulties Sleeping & Restlessness
  • Concentration Issues
  • Recovery Is Possible With Treatment

    Recovery from an anxiety disorder is possible with the right treatment and support. Effective treatments for anxiety disorders may include:

    • Cognitive behavioural therapy aims to change patterns of thinking, beliefs and behaviours that may trigger anxiety.
    • Exposure therapy involves gradually exposing a person to situations that trigger anxiety using a fear hierarchy: this is called systematic desensitisation.
    • Anxiety management and relaxation techniques for example deep muscle relaxation, meditation, breathing exercises and counselling.
    • Medication this may include antidepressants and benzodiazepines.

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    How Do I Know If I Have Severe Anxiety

    • your worrying is uncontrollable and causes distress.
    • your worrying affects your daily life, including school, your job and your social life.
    • you cannot let go of your worries.
    • you worry about all sorts of things, such as your job or health, and minor concerns, such as household chores.

    Tips For Helping Someone With An Anxiety Disorder:

    Does Anxiety Cause Voices In Your Head
    • Make no assumptionsask the person what they need.
    • Be predictabledon’t surprise the person.
    • Let the person with the disorder set the pace for recovery.
    • Find something positive in every small step towards recovery.
    • Don’t help the person avoid their fears.
    • Maintain your own life so you don’t resent the person with the disorder.
    • Don’t panic when the person with the disorder panics, but realize it’s natural to be concerned with them.
    • Be patient and accepting, but don’t settle for the affected person being permanently disabled.
    • Say encouraging words such as: “You can do it no matter how you feel. I am proud of you. Tell me what you need now. Breathe slow and low. Stay in the present. It’s not the place that’s bothering you, it’s the thought. I know that what you are feeling is painful, but it’s not dangerous. You are courageous.”
    • Avoid saying things like: “Don’t be anxious. Let’s see if you can do this. You can fight this. What should we do next? Don’t be ridculous. You have to stay. Don’t be a coward.” These phrases tend to blame the individual for the anxiety.

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    How Does Medication Treat Anxiety Disorders

    Medications cant cure an anxiety disorder. But they can improve symptoms and help you function better. Medications for anxiety disorders often include:

    • Anti-anxiety medications, such as benzodiazepines, may decrease your anxiety, panic and worry. They work quickly, but you can build up a tolerance to them. That makes them less effective over time. Your healthcare provider may prescribe an anti-anxiety medication for the short-term, then taper you off or the provider may add an antidepressant to the mix.
    • Antidepressants can also help with anxiety disorders. They tweak how your brain uses certain chemicals to improve mood and reduce stress. Antidepressants may take some time to work, so be patient. If you feel like youre ready to stop taking antidepressants, talk to your provider first.
    • Beta-blockers, usually used for high blood pressure, can help reduce some of the physical symptoms of anxiety disorders. They can relieve rapid heartbeat, shaking and trembling.

    Your healthcare provider will work with you to find the right medication combination and dosage. Dont change the dose without consulting your provider. Theyll monitor you to make sure the medicines are working without causing negative side effects.

    Your Panic Is Persistent

    An anxious brain, like a non-anxious brain, is always learning. But the anxious brain sometimes learns the wrong things and has an awfully hard time unlearning them. Once youve decided that people at parties are probably judging you, your brain may lock that lesson in and pretty soon generalize it to any social encounter. Ditto an obsessive-compulsive fear of disease or a panic over separation or loss. Sometimes, especially in the case of OCD, it takes just a single traumatic event a genuinely embarrassing social moment, say, or a legitimate medical scare for the brain to establish a fixed fear. Left untreated, those anxieties can go on for months and years.

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    How Can I Help My Child

    If your child has an anxiety disorder, here are some ways you can help:

    • Find a trained therapist and take your child to all the therapy appointments.
    • Talk often with the therapist, and ask how you can best help your child.
    • Help your child face fears. Ask the therapist how you can help your child practice at home. Praise your child for efforts to cope with fears and worry.
    • Help kids talk about feelings. Listen, and let them know you understand, love, and accept them. A caring relationship with you helps your child build inner strengths.
    • Encourage your child to take small steps forward. Don’t let your child give up or avoid what they’re afraid of. Help them take small positive steps forward.
    • Be patient. It takes a while for therapy to work and for kids to feel better.

    Symptoms Of Anxiety Disorders:

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    Anyone may experience these symptoms during stressful times. However, individuals with anxiety disorders may experience them in absence of stress, with more severe symptoms and/or with several symptoms appearing together.

    • Inability to relax
    • Rapid pulse or pounding, skipping, racing heart
    • Nausea, chest pain or pressure
    • Feeling a “lump in the throat”
    • Feelings of dread, apprehension or losing control
    • Trembling or shaking, sweating or chills
    • Fainting or dizziness, feelings of detachment
    • Thoughts of death

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    How Can I Best Cope With An Anxiety Disorder

    There are several steps you can take to cope with anxiety disorder symptoms. These strategies can also make your treatment more effective:

    • Explore stress management: Learn ways to manage stress, such as through meditation.
    • Join support groups: These groups are available in-person and online. They encourage people with anxiety disorders to share their experiences and coping strategies.
    • Get educated: Learn about the specific type of anxiety disorder you have so you feel more in control. Help friends and loved ones understand the disorder as well so they can support you.
    • Limit or avoid caffeine: Many people with anxiety disorder find that caffeine can worsen their symptoms.
    • Talk to your healthcare provider: Your provider is your partner in your care. If you feel like treatment isnt working or have questions about your medication, contact your provider. Together, you can figure out how to best move forward.

    Risk Factors For Anxiety Disorder

    Some things also make you more likely to develop an anxiety disorder. These are called risk factors. Some risk factors you canât change, but others you can.

    Risk factors for anxiety disorders include:

    • History of mental health disorder. Having another mental health disorder, like depression, raises your risk for anxiety disorder.
    • Childhood sexual abuse. Emotional, physical, and sexual abuse or neglect during childhood is linked to anxiety disorders later in life.
    • Trauma. Living through a traumatic event increases the risk of posttraumatic stress disorder , which can cause panic attacks.
    • Negative life events. Stressful or negative life events, like losing a parent in early childhood, increase your risk for anxiety disorder.
    • Severe illness or chronic health condition. Constant worry about your health or the health of a loved one, or caring for someone who is sick, can cause you to feel overwhelmed and anxious.
    • Substance abuse. The use of alcohol and illegal drugs makes you more likely to get an anxiety disorder. Some people also use these substances to hide or ease anxiety symptoms.
    • Being shy as a child. Shyness and withdrawal from unfamiliar people and places during childhood is linked to social anxiety in teens and adults.
    • Low self-esteem. Negative perceptions about yourself may lead to social anxiety disorder.

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    Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

    As a human being, there are always risks that put your life in danger. Most people are lucky enough to avoid these dangers and live a nice and safe life. But in some cases, you may experience a life trauma â either physically or emotionally â and this can cause an anxiety problem known as post-traumatic stress disorder.

    As the name implies, PTSD is an anxiety disorder that comes after the traumatic event has occurred. Those living with PTSD often must get outside help, because PTSD can affect people for years after the event occurs â possibly even for the rest of their life.

    PTSD affects people both psychologically and physically. In most cases, the person with PTSD is the one that experienced the traumatic event, but its possible to get PTSD by simply witnessing an event or injury, or even simply discovering that someone close to you dealt with a traumatic event.

    Symptoms include:

    You may also experience severe what if scenarios everywhere you go, including disaster thinking or feeling helpless/hopeless in public situations. Many of those with PTSD also experience avoidance behaviors of events, things, and even people that may remind them of the event â even if there is no link between these issues and the trauma.

    Those with post-traumatic stress disorder may be at a greater baseline of stress on most days. They may be short-tempered or easy to anger. They may be startled/frightened easily or be unable to sleep. PTSD can be a difficult problem to live with.

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