Signs And Symptoms Of Anxiety: Recognizing When You Need Help

St. George Women Ask: What Is Anxiety?

The basic human emotions are mad, sad, glad, and scared. Each one of these can vary in intensity, for example, annoyed, irritated, frustrated, angry, and furious are all on the “mad” spectrum. Anxiety, or feeling anxious, is on the “scared” spectrum: concerned, worried, anxious, alarmed, scared, terrified.

Everyone feels anxiety at some point in their life. Common anxiety-provoking situations often include:

  • taking a test or exam
  • asking for a raise
  • going on a first date
  • trying something new and unfamiliar
  • addressing a conflict with loved one
  • speaking in front of a group
  • and many more…

Chances are, you are familiar with how you feel when faced with these situations: dry mouth, sweaty palms, feeling as though there were butterflies in your stomach. If you have been fortunate, you’ve been able to push through the unease with the help of a parent or mentor who provided encouragement and tools or strategies. Under such ideal circumstances, people can rack up enough success doing what they fear that they develop a confidence that dispels their anxiety. But sadly, many people are not so lucky and develop an Anxiety Disorder that can negatively impact every aspect of life.

What Are Anxiety Symptoms?

Symptoms are the things a person experiences that indicate there is a problem that needs to be addressed. For example, if every time you see a dog you freeze or try to get as far away from the dog as possible, these are symptoms that suggest there is a problem. Many people live with mild, fleeting anxiety symptoms. But for others, symptoms of anxiety create such a disturbance they are unable to pursue their goals, maintain relationships or experience ease in daily activities.

There are many different symptoms of anxiety, each ranging from mild to severe. Some examples were mentioned above (dry mouth, sweaty palms, feeling as though there were butterflies in your stomach), but there are many others as well and they can range from mild to severe. Some of these symptoms of anxiety are:

  • trembling or feeling shaky
  • tension
  • restlessness
  • trouble concentrating
  • trouble sleeping
  • feeling irritable
  • feeling a sense of dread or doom
  • experiencing panic
  • heart palpitations
  • feeling like you can’t catch your breath

 

 

Can Anxiety Make You Feel Sick or Nauseous?

When people get a stomach ache or feel nausea, often their first thought is that they are coming down with the flu or they ate something that didn’t agree with them. But sometimes anxiety can be the culprit.

Anxiety is a stressor that can activate the release of certain neurotransmitters and hormones associated with the “fight-flight-freeze” response. Some of these chemicals affect the digestive system by upsetting the delicate balance of the gut biome, resulting in that “sick-to-your-stomach” feeling. Further, the body prepares itself to either fight or run (e.g. flight) by prioritizing blood flow to the legs and arms. Thus, other areas such as the stomach and brain that are getting less energy in the form of oxygenated blood and cannot function as they should.

How Anxiety Symptoms Affect Behavior: Noticing Changes In Actions

So far we have talked about some of the physical and cognitive symptoms of anxiety, but there are behavioral symptoms as well. As noted above, anxiety is a normal part of being human. But when it starts keeping you or a loved one from important aspects of life, it’s time to take notice. Here are some examples:

  • Decreased ability to meet responsibilities at home, work, or school, or to perform normal activities of daily life
  • Self-medicating with drugs or alcohol to cope
  • Isolating or withdrawing from others
  • Developing fear of leaving the house
  • Agitation, restlessness or inability to sit still and stay calm

 

 

But Do I Have An Anxiety Disorder?

The lines are blurry between normal anxiety and a diagnosable disorder, and to make things more complicated, there are many different disorders that fall under the umbrella of anxiety disorders. There is Agoraphobia (fear of leaving your house), Panic Disorder, Separation Anxiety Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, and specific phobias such as fear of needles or spiders to name a few. It can be difficult to know whether your symptoms meet the criteria for a diagnosable disorder.

The general rule has to do with whether your symptoms:

  • cause significant distress
  • how long they have affected you
  • and if they interfere with your ability to function socially, on the job, or in school.

The best way to find out is to see a qualified mental health practitioner and talk openly about what is happening.

 

What is the Best Way to Deal With Anxiety

There are literally hundreds of self-help books and YouTube videos claiming they can help you overcome anxiety. But the problem is that we humans are wired to seek pleasure and avoid discomfort. Anxiety is inherently uncomfortable, so the problem with these self-help tools is one of motivation. It is a rare person who can sustain the self-discipline needed to overcome a problem like anxiety with just the information in a book or video.

It is far better to use the “buddy system”: hire a mental health professional who can guide and encourage you while providing therapy. Therapists are trained in the sometimes-subtle differences between normal anxiety and an anxiety disorder, and can provide the right diagnosis as well as the right treatment to meet your individual needs.

Therapy For Anxiety In St. Geroge UT | 84790

Are you ready to get a handle on how your anxiety is affecting your life? The irritability you’ve been feeling, brain fog, nausea and difficulty sleeping… It’s all just become too much. One-on-one therapy can help. In weekly sessions you’ll learn coping skills, regulate your nervous system and address the parts of you that hold fear,, anxiety and overwhelm.

The next step is to call for a 15 minute complimentary phone consultation. We’d love to jump on the phone with you and explore your goals and hopes for the future. We’ll answer all of your questions and match you with the best therapist on our team for your needs. Your therapist will be ready and waiting with skills and techniques to help you feel centered and, more importantly, methods to address the root source of your anxiety so you are coping less and living more! We can hardly wait to support you.

 

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