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How Bad Can Anxiety Get

Anxiety Symptoms That Might Point To A Disorder

How Anxiety Can Become a (Bad) Habit

Everyone can expect to have the occasional bout of anxietymaybe you get nervous before an interview or a first datebut sometimes, that anxiety doesn’t subside, which may indicate an anxiety disorder.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health , there are a few different types of anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and phobia-related anxiety disorders, but they all hinge on one important aspect: when overwhelming feelings of worry or fear impinge on a person’s daily life.

Researchers believe that anxiety disorders can stem from both genetic and environmental factors, and these anxiety disorders are typically treated through a variety of interventions, including psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of the two, according to the NIMH.

While anxiety disorders are often hard to pinpointand often benefit from a correct diagnosis from a mental health professionalthere are some signs and symptoms that are common among those with most types of anxiety disorders. Here’s what you need to know, and including when you should seek professional help.

Recurring Negative Thoughts Create Stories And Then You Live In Those Stories

Recurring cycles of negative thoughts creates stories. They are just like films inside of your mind. Maybe a stream of thoughts will create a story in which everyone thinks youre stupid. Or maybe a stream of thoughts will create a story in which criticize yourself for something you said to your boss the other day.

Streams of negative thoughts also distort and tarnish the good intentions of your true self. Negative thoughts create negative stories, and you live in those stories instead of being your true self.

Suppose, for example, you see a tourist being abusive and superior to a person who lives in the country he is visiting. He is ordering the local person around and criticizing them. You have the impulse out of goodness to stop this abuse. You walk over to the tourist, and in a kind and respectful manner ask him to be kind and gentle, and although he is a bit abashed, everything works out just fine. The tourist realizes he is being unkind and stops.

But suppose you are in the same situation and a stream of negative thoughts is running through your mind that depicts the tourist as a bad person who is typical of the people who come from his country, and you get angry. You march over to the tourist, and in the full flush of your righteous indignation you are haughty and critical with him, and he becomes resentful and defiant. Now he turns on you.

This is a second reason to find a way to diminish the power of your negative thoughts.

Symptoms Of Anxiety Disorders:

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”
  • Dry mouth
  • Feelings of dread, apprehension or losing control
  • Trembling or shaking, sweating or chills
  • Fainting or dizziness, feelings of detachment
  • Thoughts of death

Read Also: How To Help Someone Who Has Anxiety

You Seem Prone To Catching Colds

Some people tend to get sick more often in periods of high anxiety, says Dr. Potter. Your immune system doesnt function as well when your fight-or-flight response is operating for too long, according to the Mayo Clinic. This could mean that youre more susceptible to issues such as the common cold, although a lot of other factors come into play here as well, like how robust your immune system is in general and how vigilant you are about hand hygiene.

How Are Anxiety Disorders Diagnosed

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If you have symptoms of an anxiety disorder, talk to your healthcare provider. Theyll start with a complete medical history and physical examination.

There are no lab tests or scans that can diagnose anxiety disorders. But your provider may run some of these tests to rule out physical conditions that may be causing symptoms.

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How You Get Tricked

* If you have Panic Disorder or Agoraphobia, you keep getting tricked into believing that you’re about to die, go crazy, or lose control of yourself.

* If you have Social Phobia,you keep getting tricked into into believing that you’re about to look so unreasonably nervous in front of people that you will be completely humiliated and be cast aside by your community.

* If you have a Specific Phobia, you keep getting tricked into believing that you’re likely to be overcome by some external object or animal, or by your fear of it.

* If you have OCD, you keep getting tricked into believing that you’ve set in motion a terrible calamity. You might fear that your neighborhood will burn because you left the stove on, or that your family will get poisoned because you mishandled the insecticide.

* If you have Generalized Anxiety Disorder, you keep getting tricked into believing that you’re about to be driven mad by constant worrying.

In each case, the episode of fear passes without the expected catastrophe. You’re none the worse for wear, except that you’re more worried about the next episode. The details seem different, but it’s the same anxiety trick.

Changes In Digestive Function

Cortisol blocks processes that the body considers nonessential in a fight or flight situation.

One of these blocked processes is digestion. Also, adrenaline reduces blood flow and relaxes the stomach muscles.

As a result, a person with anxiety may experience nausea, diarrhea, and a feeling that the stomach is churning. They may also lose their appetite.

suggests that stress and depression are linked to several digestive diseases, including irritable bowel syndrome .

One , of outpatients at a gastroenterology clinic in Mumbai, reported that 3040 percent of participants with IBS also had anxiety or depression.

Read Also: How To Control High Anxiety

Work With A Social Security Attorney

Sometimes even if you qualify for these benefits, you may not be awarded SSDI payments when you first submit your application.

Therefore, you may need the services of a qualified Social Security Disability attorney or advocate. An experienced lawyer will ensure that all documentation is in order and that your case is presented to the SSA in the strongest manner possible.

What Is Extreme Anxiety

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It is important to understand that extreme anxiety is not a clinical term or a diagnosis. Instead, it is a way that people can describe the subjective experience of severe anxiety or an anxiety disorder.

How people experience anxiety can differ from one person to the next. One person may feel symptoms like butterflies in their stomach, while another person might have a full-blown panic attack.

Suppose you are experiencing life-limiting anxiety and makes it difficult to function in different areas of life including work, school, and relationships. In that case, there is a chance that you might have an anxiety disorder.

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Does Alcohol Make Anxiety Worse

Moping is a mistake that is easy to ignore and that also makes anxiety worse. But it is not the only one. For example, many people find that they feel “calmer” and more relaxed when they drink alcohol. But alcohol only numbs you to anxiety in the moment rather than providing any type of cure.

While alcohol may numb your anxiety, it also weakens your ability to cope with stress. Your mind expects alcohol to be the tool you use to take it away, and you become less likely to be able to reduce anxiety without it. Because alcohol also causes illness, dehydration, poor decision making and sleeplessness, it ends up creating more anxiety than it helped.

When Do These Physical Symptoms Of Anxiety Signal A Panic Attack

Panic attacks often include physical anxiety symptoms, like sweating, trembling, and a fast heart rate. But, as we mentioned, theres one major difference: Panic attacks cause an extreme sensation of fear that strikes out of nowhere. That terror is an integral part of having a panic attack. Beyond that, panic attacks include at least four of the following symptoms, some of which you just read about as physical effects of anxiety:

  • Palpitations, a pounding heart, or an accelerated heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Sensations of shortness of breath or smothering
  • Feelings of choking
  • Feeling dizzy, unsteady, lightheaded, or faint
  • Chills or heat sensations
  • Derealization or depersonalization
  • Fear of losing control or going crazy
  • Fear of dying

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Phobias And Irrational Fears

A phobia is an unrealistic or exaggerated fear of a specific object, activity, or situation that in reality presents little to no danger. Common phobias include fear of animals , fear of flying, and fear of heights. In the case of a severe phobia, you might go to extreme lengths to avoid the object of your fear. Unfortunately, avoidance only strengthens the phobia.

Causes And Risk Factors For Anxiety

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Researchers tend to agree that anxiety disorders are not the result of a single risk factor or cause rather it is a combination of environmental, genetic, and physical risk factors working in tandem to cause the disorder. The most commonly cited causes and risk factors for anxiety disorders include:

Genetic: People who have a first-degree relative such as a parent or sibling with an anxiety disorder are at greater risk for developing one themselves. However, not all people diagnosed with anxiety disorders will have a family history, nor will all with a family history go on to develop an anxiety disorder.

Physical: Neuroimaging studies of those who have anxiety disorders show that there are subtle differences in areas of the brain notably the hippocampus and amygdala of those with these disorders. Additionally, abnormal levels of certain neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin may be involved in the development of anxiety disorders.

Environmental: A number of significant life events and stressors that overwhelm an individuals ability to cope may lead to the development of anxiety disorders.

Risk Factors:

  • Former or active military duty
  • Chronic, unremitting stress
  • Childhood history of abuse, trauma, or neglect
  • Chronic physical health disorder

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Excretory And Digestive Systems

Anxiety also affects your excretory and digestive systems. You may have stomachaches, nausea, diarrhea, and other digestive issues. Loss of appetite can also occur.

There may be a connection between anxiety disorders and the development of irritable bowel syndrome after a bowel infection. IBS can cause vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation.

Psychological Symptoms Of Gad

GAD can cause a change in your behaviour and the way you think and feel about things, resulting in symptoms such as:

  • restlessness
  • difficulty concentrating
  • irritability

Your symptoms may cause you to withdraw from social contact to avoid feelings of worry and dread.

You may also find going to work difficult and stressful, and may take time off sick. These actions can make you worry even more about yourself and increase your lack of self-esteem.

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When To Seek Professional Help

While self-help coping strategies can be very effective, if your worries, fears, or anxiety attacks have become so great that theyre causing extreme distress or disrupting your daily routine, its important to seek professional help.

If youre experiencing a lot of physical symptoms, you should start by getting a medical checkup. Your doctor can check to make sure that your anxiety isnt caused by a medical condition, such as a thyroid problem, hypoglycemia, or asthma. Since certain drugs and supplements can cause anxiety, your doctor will also want to know about any prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, herbal remedies, and recreational drugs youre taking.

If your physician rules out a medical cause, the next step is to consult with a therapist who has experience treating anxiety disorders. The therapist will work with you to determine the cause and type of your disorder and devise a course of treatment.

Find Out What Could Be Making Your Anxiety Worse

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Everyone gets anxious, restless, and frazzled but if you constantly feel worried, tense, or on edge, you may have an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders involve more than temporary worry or fear. For a person with an anxiety disorder, the anxiety does not go away and can get worse over time.

Doctors make a diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder when patients have anxiety symptoms for more than six months.

Examples of other anxiety disorders include:

  • Specific phobias

According to the Mayo Clinic, you can have more than one anxiety disorder.

Research shows that a combination of environmental and genetic factors likely increase a persons risk for developing an anxiety disorder, notes the National Institute of Mental Health. Like so many health conditions, anxiety appears to run in families.

In addition to underlying disorders, anxiety may be caused by stress, whether from a major life event or the accumulated effect of small everyday stressors. Anxiety can also come with a medical condition such as heart disease, diabetes, asthma, or thyroid disorders that need treatment. Theres a clear link between caffeine and anxiety and alcohol and anxiety. And certain medications may cause anxiety. In this case, avoiding caffeine and alcohol or changing medications may reduce the anxiety. Its important to note that while all these things can cause anxious feelings, this type of anxiety is distinct from a psychiatric diagnosis of an anxiety disorder.

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Social Security Administration Disability Programs

The social security administration divides disability into two programs:

  • Social Security Disability Insurance
  • Supplemental Security Income

SSD is a need-based program for disabled people who have paid into the social security system. SSDI determination is based on disability and works credits.

SSI, on the other hand, is a need-based program that is only available to those who meet stringent income and asset standards. SSI determination is based on age/disability and limited income and resources.

For example, you will not be eligible for SSDI if you have never worked due to your mental illness. Furthermore, if you rely on the financial help of friends or relatives, you will not be eligible for SSI.

Talk To A Professional

Anxiety is one of the most common types of mental health conditions. According to the National Institute of Mental Health , 19.1% of adults in the United States experience an anxiety disorder each year and an estimated 31.1% of adults will experience an anxiety disorder at some point during their lives.

Anxiety disorders also tend to be more prevalent among women than men. Because women are twice as likely as men to be affected by an anxiety disorder, experts suggest that women and girls age 13 and older should be screened for anxiety during regular health exams.

If anxiety is making it difficult to function normally or creating significant distress in your life, it is important to get help. This anxiety typically will not go away on its own and it often grows worse over time. Many of the coping strategies that people use to decrease anxietysuch as avoidanceend up making the problem worse.

Anxiety is a common problem that tends to affect women more than men. If you are experiencing extreme anxiety, it is important to seek help from a health professional. A mental health professional can diagnose your condition and recommend treatment options that can help you combat feelings of extreme anxiety.

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