Everyone worries sometimes. We fret over things that may or may not be a real problem. Everyone is anxious in certain circumstances. We anguish over uncertainties, and we fear misfortune or failure. Our minds get weighed down by responsibility. We get troubled about our current situation, the future, relationships, loved ones, or our health. Everyone can become afraid at times. Our hearts start racing; our breathing speeds up. We are ready to fight, or flee, or freeze. This is all normal.
So what is Anxiety, and when is it a problem?
Anxiety is when these usually normal feelings start to take over. You get overwhelmed with fear or worry. The physical signs, such as tension, increased pulse
rate, sweating, and trouble breathing, may start getting in your way. You just aren't sure you have the ability to cope with it anymore. You may start to pull back from activities you once had no problem attending. Your mind spins on your worries. This has been going on for a while, maybe getting worse, certainly not getting better.
Some of the most common types of Anxiety Disorders are:
Panic Attacks - these seem to come out of nowhere, causing intense fear or intense discomfort and at least some of the following:
Palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate
Trembling or shaking
Sensations of shortness of breath or smothering
Feelings of choking
Chest pain or discomfort
Nausea or abdominal distress
Feeling dizzy, unsteady, light-headed, or faint
Chills or heat sensations
Numbness or tingling
A sense of unreality or being detached from oneself
Fear of losing control or "going crazy"
Fear of dying
People who suffer from panic attacks will often worry a lot about having another attack and may try to avoid anything that could bring on another one.
Generalized Anxiety - This is called "generalized" because the perosn worries or is anxious about a number of events or activities and finds it difficult to control this worry. Typically, the person will also experience feeling keyed up or on edge, being easily fatigued, trouble concentrating or their mind going blank, irritability, muscle tension, and sleep difficulties.
Specific Phobia - A specific object or situation causes distinctive fear or anxiety, such as flying, heights, a certain animal, blood, getting an injection, and many, many more.
Agoraphobia - This is a specific type of phobia that covers the following: Using public transportation, being in open spaces, being in enclosed spaces, standing in line or being in a crowd, or being out of the house alone.
Social Anxiety - This is when someone almost always has a clear sense of fear or anxiety about being in a social situation in which they will be interacting or being observed by others.
Separation Anxiety - This is the most common anxiety disorder for children under 12, but adults can experience it also. Those with separation anxiety tend to have excessive fear or anxiety about separation from particular significant people in a way that is not a normal part of a developmental stage. It can include nightmares, excessive worry about something bad happening to the other person, reluctance to go places or do things without the other person, and physical symptoms such as headaches or stomachaches when separation occurs. These symptoms are not just a short phase the person is in. They last at least 4 weeks or more in children and 6 months or more in adults.
If your are suffering from any of these symptoms, or if you aren't sure, gie us a call.