Anxiety is a natural physical response to a threat. It affects everyone to some degree. It might show up as the slight nervousness you feel before a big job interview. The interview ends, and the nerves disappear. In some cases, however, anxiety is more severe and debilitating. Perhaps you fear speaking in public or suffer from frightening panic attacks.
A bit of anxiety can be adaptive because it effectively prepares you to face stressful situations like job interviews. But when you experience too much anxiety for too long, it threatens your relationships and overall functioning.
Here are some signs that anxiety is taking control of your life:
- You always feel on edge or worried. You can’t seem to stop your worrying. It keeps you up at night and makes it hard to concentrate.
- You are unable to function at work or school. You call in or arrive late. You have difficulties focusing or paying attention, which cause you to make mistakes or miss the deadline on projects.
- You avoid social interaction and withdraw from loved ones. Your parents, friends, and coworkers are all concerned about you.
- Your anxiety causes you to flake on family activities or responsibilities. You miss out on great opportunities at school or work. You may also find that you have lost interest in the things you once enjoyed.
- You practice avoidance behaviors like evading eye contact in social situations or driving a different route to avoid 18-wheelers on the interstate.
- Your anxiety causes physical sensations, such as shortness of breath, heart palpitations, headaches, shaking, and hot flashes or sudden chills.
- You have an intense fear that restricts your activities. For instance, you avoid flying or leaving the house.
- You notice changes in your eating habits, like you eat too much or never have an appetite.
- You use drugs and alcohol to help ‘numb’ the feelings associated with anxiety. However, you find that covering up symptoms with substance use only makes them worse in the long run.
- You are suffering from unexplained aches and pains. Anxiety may threaten your physical health or complicate preexisting conditions.
Have you been trying to control anxiety with no success? Maybe you’re using the wrong strategies, or maybe your anxiety has become too severe to handle on your own. Regardless, if you are noticing many of the signs above, now is the time to get help. If left untreated, anxiety symptoms can worsen.
If you think you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder, you are not alone. Millions of people cope with anxiety each year. Sometimes, the challenges we face in life require more resources to cope than we have on hand. During these times, it’s important that you seek out help through counseling to get a handle on anxiety. I can work with you to identify which aspects of your life contribute to anxiety and help you learn strategies to effectively manage it.
Getting help for anxiety creates an opportunity for you to connect with a competent and compassionate counselor/therapist who can help.
Professional counseling can help you understand why you’ve been struggling, learn new coping skills and take back control of your life.
Sources: https://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2014/02/17/telltale-signs-its-time-to-treat-your-anxiety/, https://www.helpguide.org/articles/anxiety/anxiety-attacks-and-anxiety-disorders.htm, http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20646990,00.html, https://www.helpguide.org/articles/anxiety/panic-attacks-and-panic-disorders.htm, http://www.healthcentral.com/anxiety/c/157571/112415/signs-anxiety/
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