Help! Do I Have an Anxiety Disorder?
A Gallup poll taken several years ago reported 8 in 10 Americans encounter stress in their daily lives. While stress is not always a bad thing, it still leads many people to wonder—at what point is “feeling stressed out” actually something more serious?
Anxiety disorders are one of the most common mental illnesses in the US, affecting about 40M Americans, age 18+, or about 18% of the population. Depression is also very common. One of the first questions people often ask is: Am I anxious or depressed?
A Quick Look at Anxiety vs. Depression
If you’re feeling you might be suffering from anxiety or depression, the smart thing to do is see your doctor. They will be able to assess the condition and there can be medical reasons that mimic the symptoms of either.
But, for a quick rule-of-thumb, here’s a comparison of general symptoms:
· Panic, fear, and uneasiness
· Sleep problems
· Not being able to stay calm and still
· Cold, sweaty, numb or tingling hands or feet
· Shortness of breath
· Heart palpitations
· Tense muscles
· Ongoing sadness and anxiety
· Lack of energy
· Loss of pleasure in activities you once enjoyed
· Sexual problems or drop in sex drive
· Change in sleep patterns
· Weight gain or loss
· Regular crying episodes
· Aches and pains that won't go away
· Trouble staying focused, remembering, or making decisions
· Grim feelings about the future
· Feeling guilty, helpless, or worthless
It Looks Like Anxiety
Anxiety can be your response to a change in your environment like starting a new job, buying a house, or suffering a loss. Normal stress like this is temporary and usually related to a specific event. You can be easily annoyed, unusually irritable or short-tempered which might be a warning sign, but typically, you’re just reacting to some sort of momentary stressor in your life.
The Tipping Point
Anxiety disorder is an emotion that’s characterized by a feeling of apprehension, nervousness, or fear that is consistent over time. The distress these emotions cause can keep you from carrying on with your life normally and generally aren’t traceable to a specific occurrence in your life.
People who have generalized anxiety disorder, the most common type, experience at least 6 months of excessive worry or fear over every day or imagined problems. Other types of anxiety disorders include Panic disorder, Social anxiety disorder and specific phobias.
How Can MHRS help?
The good news is anxiety disorders can be treatable with medication, psychotherapy or a combination of the two.
Take the first step with a free screening accessible on the our website.