Anxiety is a natural reaction to stressful situations and is a normal part of life. But there are times when your reactions to stress are more long-term, pervasive, or out of proportion to a situation. In these cases, you may consider whether you are suffering from an Anxiety Disorder.
Look over this list of common Anxiety Disorders and see if they match your symptoms:
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
You may have GAD if this sounds like you:
- Excessive anxiety and worry about a variety of topics, events, or activities that have lasted for at least six months or more
- Your worry is hard to control
- You worry about a variety of things and your worry may shift from topic to topic
- In addition to worry or dread, you also feel:
- Edgy or restless
- More tired than usual or easily tired out
- Difficulty concentrating or as though your mind goes blank
- Irritability (which may or may not be observable to others)
- Increased muscle aches or soreness
- Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, restlessness at night, or unsatisfying sleep.
Panic attacks are periods of intense fear or discomfort accompanied by physical symptoms such as a racing heartbeat or shortness of breath. These attacks often appear seemingly out of the blue. If you experience a recurrence of a panic attack or continue to obsess and worry over having another panic attack, you may be diagnosed with Panic Disorder.
Symptoms of a panic attack include:
- Intense fearfulness or dread (a sense that something terrible is happening)
- Racing or pounding heartbeat
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Shortness of breath or a feeling of being smothered
- Trembling or shaking
- Sense of unreality
- Fear of dying, losing control, or losing your mind.
You could have an irrational fear about something specific (eg, thunder or heights). This is called a phobia. Phobic Disorders are characterized by the following:
- Unreasonable or excessive fear
- The fear immediately appears in the presence of the feared object or situation
- Attempts to avoid the fear source or is extremely distressed when having to experience it
- The phobia seriously impacts your child's family or social life or school or sports performance
If you are not sure if you have an Anxiety Disorder, call our office and discuss it with one of our experienced therapists. We'd be happy to consult with you and help you out. It is important to seek help if you suspect you have an Anxiety Disorder. Our therapists can determine the nature of the disorder and develop a treatment plan to help. That could include building coping skills, talking through irrational beliefs, and referrals for medication or other cutting-edge therapies.