“Do I have anxiety?”
Life is difficult and is full of many surprises. The various transitions and obstacles we experience in our lives can at times make us feel anxious and overwhelmed, but for the most part we are able to cope. Occasional anxiety and worry is a normal part of life, However; when that anxiety becomes excessive and it affects our ability to function it can become problematic. Untreated anxiety can affect various areas of our lives, our relationships, our jobs, and our ability to lead fully satisfying lives. If you are concerned about the anxiety you are experiencing you might be asking yourself how common is anxiety and how do I know if I am suffering from anxiety?
How common is anxiety?
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, Anxiety is the most common mental health diagnoses in the United States. An estimated 40 million adults, or 18.1% of the population, suffer from an anxiety disorder per year. Unfortunately only 36.9% of those suffering with anxiety disorders seek treatment, despite them being high treatable.
How do I know if I have anxiety?
If you are concerned about the frequency or intensity of the anxiety you are experiencing ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you feel nervous, anxious, or on edge?
- Are you unable to sleep or control your worrying?
- Do you worry too much about different things?
- Do you have trouble relaxing?
- Are you so restless that it’s hard to sit still?
- Do you become easily annoyed or irritable?
- Do you feel afraid, as if something awful might happen?
- Do you ever have racing thoughts?
- Does the slightest event make you feel completely overwhelmed and make you feel incapable of coping?
- Do you ever feel like the slightest event will have catastrophic results?
If so, you might be suffering from anxiety disorder.
What are the physical signs of anxiety?
Some physical signs of anxiety are rapid heart rate, restlessness, shortness of breath, excessive sweating, headaches, nauseousness, dizziness, lightheadedness, muscle tension, problems sleeping.
Are there different anxiety disorders?
According to the DSM 5, the most recent manual that Physicians and Mental Health Professionals use to diagnose mental health disorders, there are seven (7) Anxiety Disorders
Agoraphobia is anxiety related to fears of situations that are enclosed or where it would be difficult to escape, in the event of having a panic attack. Typically, the individual will have thoughts that something dreadful could happen. These worries must persist for at least 6 months and occur practically every time the individual encounters the place or situation.
Symptoms include the individual experiencing high levels of fear in response to, or anticipation of 2 of the following 5 situations:
- Using public transportation
- Being in open spaces
- Being in enclosed spaces
- Standing in line or being in a crowd
- Being outside of the home alone
2. Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Generalized anxiety disorder is excessive anxiety or worry for months with several anxiety-related symptoms.
- Feeling restless, wound-up, or on edge
- Feeling easily fatigued
- Having difficulty concentrating or mind going blank
- Experiencing irritability and muscle tension
- Having difficulty controlling the worry
- Experiencing sleep problems (difficulty falling or staying asleep or restless, unsatisfying sleep)
3. Social Phobia
Social Phobia, often referred to as, “Social Anxiety Disorder,” involves a marked fear of social or performance related situations in which they expect to feel embarrassed, judged, rejected, or fearful of offending others.
- Feeling very anxious about being around and talking to people
- Feeling very self-conscious in front of other people and worried about feeling humiliated, embarrassed, or rejected, or fearful of offending others
- Being highly afraid that other people will judge them
- Worrying for days or weeks before an event with other people
- Avoiding places where there are other people that they’ll have to come into contact with
- Difficulty establishing and maintaining friendships
- Blushing, sweating, or trembling around people
- Feeling nauseous or sick when other people are around
4. Selective Mutism
Selective mutism is a type of anxiety disorder with the distinguishing characteristic of failure to speak in specific social situations (e.g., at school or with friends) where speaking is expected, despite speaking in other situations. Features may include excessive shyness, fear of social embarrassment, social isolation and withdrawal, clinging, compulsive traits, negativism, temper tantrums, or controlling or oppositional behavior, particularly at home.
5. Panic Disorder
Panic Disorder involves having recurrent unexpected panic attacks, which are sudden periods of intense fear that may include heart palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate; sweating; trembling or shaking; sensations of shortness of breath, smothering, or choking; and feeling of impending doom.
- Sudden and repeated attacks of intense fear
- Feelings of being out of control during a panic attack
- Intense worries about when the next attack will happen
- Fear or avoidance of places where panic attacks have occurred in the past
6. Specific Phobia
Specific phobias are intense, irrational fears of certain things or situations. They aren’t just extreme fears; they are irrational fears. Adults with phobias realize their fears are irrational, but facing them brings on a panic attack or severe anxiety.
- An excessive or unreasonable fear that is triggered by a specific object or situation
- The fear is persistent, normally lasting at least 6 months.
- Exposure to the fear provokes anxiety, which may trigger a panic attack or behavioral change in children
- The fear is out of proportion to the actual danger and is not a normal response
- The phobic situation is avoided or is endured with intense anxiety
- The avoidance, anxious anticipation, or distress interferes significantly with the person’s routine, functioning, activities or relationships
- The anxiety, panic attacks, or phobic avoidance are not better accounted for by another mental disorder.
7. Separation Anxiety Disorder
Separation anxiety disorder has to do with children being triggered by being separated from their home or from those (in adolescents and adults) to whom the person is attached, like their parents or primary caregivers. Their anxiety is beyond what is expected for their age, and the fear, anxiety, or avoidance is ongoing, lasting at least 4 weeks in children and adolescents and typically 6-months or more in adults.
- Recurrent excessive distress when separated from home or major attachment figures occurs or is anticipated
- Persistent and excessive worry about losing major attachment figures or about possible harm befalling of them
- Worry that an event will lead to separation from a parent
- Persistent reluctance or refusal to go to school due to fear of separation
- Worry about being alone or without parents at home or without significant adults in other settings
- Refusal to go to sleep without being near a near a major attachment figure or to sleep away from home
- Repeated nightmares involving the theme of separation
- Complaints of physical symptoms (such as headaches, stomach aches, nausea, or vomiting) when separated from parents
How can anxiety be treated?
At Thriveworks our clinically licensed and trained therapists treat anxiety disorders using various evidence based techniques. The two most common treatment modalities in treating anxiety disorders are CBT and exposure therapy.
One evidenced based practice that Thriveworks offers is CBT, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. CBT teaches you a different way of thinking, behaving, and reacting to anxiety-producing and fearful situations, in order to change the way you feel. CBT can also help people learn and practice social skills, which is helpful in treating anxiety disorders.
Another treatment that focuses on addressing fears is Exposure Therapy. Exposure Therapy helps to confront underlying fears in order to diminish them with relaxation techniques and mindfulness.
Where can I get help?
If you are suffering from anxiety you may benefit from the professional support of a skilled therapist. Thriveworks has licensed clinical therapists that can assist you in better understanding the root causes of your anxiety and learning the skills to overcome them.
At Thriveworks, we accept most major insurance plans and typically offer appointments within 24 hours of your initial call.
We are conveniently located in Wilmington, Delaware, at 300 Delaware Avenue, Suite 1205, Wilmington, DE, 19801, in New Castle County, Delaware, and are accessible by public transportation via:
- Amtrak: https://www.amtrak.com/stations/wil
- DART: https://dartfirststate.com/
- SEPTA Regional Rail’s Wilmington/Newark Line: https://septa.org/service/rail/2018-05-newark.html
Call: (302) 313-0236 to get scheduled at Thriveworks Wilmington, DE, today!