14 Nov Anxiety or an anxiety disorder?
Anxiety versus an anxiety disorder
Almost everyone experiences anxiety from time to time, it’s a natural human emotion that has helped us to survive. It alerts us that we may be under threat. However, many things in the modern world can make us feel like we are under threat (provoke anxiety) when we are really not under threat. (Provoke means to give rise to an emotion, btw.) For some people, that feeling of threat can become constant and it can interfere with their daily functioning. In such cases, regular anxiety may have developed into an anxiety disorder.
To tell if someone has an anxiety disorder, a mental health professional will assess the level of anxiety based on the following:
-how severe the anxiety can get,
-how long it lasts, and
-how it affects the person’s ability to function in relationships, at work or school and with basic hygiene and daily activities.
If you feel you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder, or if you just feel like you would like help with the anxiety you are feeling, you may wish to seek the help of a qualified mental health professional who can both diagnose the severity of your anxiety and help you to manage it. If you are unsure but are having difficulty with fear and worry in any of the following areas, please seek help:
-trouble with friends and family
-trouble concentrating at school or work
-trouble managing your feelings
-trouble taking basic care of yourself (getting enough sleep, exercising, eating well, and having basic hygiene concerns).
-trouble with any of the above for a period of at least two weeks.
What other things indicate a “red flag”?
One other “red flag” are the panic attacks mentioned in the first sub-post. Panic attacks are a sudden overwhelming sense of fear that causes sweating, heart palpitations, difficulties in breathing and trembling. People who are having panic attacks often think they are having a heart attack. If you are experiencing panic attacks, treatment is a good idea as they are highly treatable and the quicker you deal with them, the less likely that they develop into a disorder.
Another red flag are phobias that keep you from leading your life freely. Most people dislike spiders, but if you can’t go camping with your friends because you are worried a spider might enter your tent, that’s a red flag. If you worry constantly that you left the shower on and frequently miss the bus because you keep having to go back and check, or if you fear going in elevators so much that you won’t apply for any jobs in skyscrapers, anxiety is then having a significant impact on the quality of your life and you would be wise to address it (kick it to the curb really!!).
Just remember, like making your favorite chili, a little hot sauce (stress) gives it that edge. Too much hot sauce (anxiety) and your mouth is on fire and the meal (your everyday life) is ruined.