How to Recognize and Reduce Anxiety

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Everyone can expect to feel anxiety from time to time. Some people feel it under certain circumstances, such as in front of a group of people or when interviewing for a job. But others feel it on a consistent basis.

Anxiety is a complicated disease which affects 40 million adults in America. It’s defined as a disorder which causes persistent and strong attacks of fear. These bouts interfere heavily with basic areas of a person’s life.

What makes anxiety so complicated is it affects everyone differently. Not only is it a very personal illness – one of which no two people will feel in an exactly similar manner – but it comes in a variety of types. The five major ones are:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Panic Disorder
  • Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Social Anxiety Disorder (sometimes referred to as Social Phobia)

It’s common for people with an anxiety disorder to want to hide their symptoms. Though it’s not the case with everyone, many people feel embarrassed due to their mental health condition. They perceive it to be a sign of weakness and fear others will think the same.

However, it’s important for people with anxiety disorder to speak out. It’s vital they find others who can relate and the treatment they need.

If you’re worried you or a loved one suffering from the disorder, this article seeks to provide you with an idea of how to recognize an anxiety disorder.

Emotional Signs and Symptoms

A person who experiences anxiety will often themselves with the following symptoms:

  • Apprehension
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Dreadful feelings
  • Expecting the worst outcome
  • Feeling as though the mind has gone blank
  • Irritability
  • Over-alertness
  • Tense/jittery feelings

These symptoms often start small enough but have a tendency to pick up over time. In turn, this could induce an anxiety attack.

Physical Signs and Symptoms

People with anxiety will also have physical symptoms take place either within the body or on the surface. These include:

  • Continual need to urinate
  • Diarrhea (not caused by illness)
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle tension
  • Nausea
  • Rapid heartbeat and breathing
  • Sweating
  • Vomiting (not caused by illness)

Just as with emotional symptoms, physical symptoms can build up over a period of time and result in an anxiety attack.

What to Look Out For

With the above symptoms, you might still not be entirely sure whether or not you suffer from an anxiety disorder. This is understandable considering many with the mental health condition also suffer from other mental illnesses. Some symptoms you feel might be a result of anxiety while others are a product of another disorder.

In order to get a clear comprehension of your mental health condition, you’ll want to speak to a mental health professional.

If you have a hunch someone you care for is suffering from an anxiety disorder, it’s important to keep an eye out for specific moods and habits. These include:

  • Alcohol and/or drug abuse
  • Changes in personality
  • Compulsive or redundant conduct
  • Continuous emotional and physical health complications
  • Depression and/or suicidal ideation
  • Intense moments of fear due to particular situations and/or things
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Problems with family, friends, and/or relationships
  • Problems with work and/or school

As mentioned, someone with an anxiety disorder may hide their mental health condition. Therefore, it might be difficult for you to pick up these moods and habits.

The best way to find out whether or not someone is suffering from this illness is to talk to them. With an open conversation, you’re allowing your loved one to finally come out about their problem. And you’re on the path to discovering a solution.

What Can Be Done to Reduce Anxiety

There are a number of tips mental health professionals will tell you when it comes to reducing anxiety. It’s important to note, each point isn’t a guaranteed step towards beating anxiety. Rather, it’s a suggestion that may or may not work for you, depending on your personality and how you handle mental health.

Write Your Worries Down

People with anxiety tend to have the ability to know certain events which can cause their symptoms. For example, someone may have a school presentation they’re nervous about or a first date they aren’t too sure about. During these situations, it’s best to write down how you’re feeling.

By bottling up these negative emotions, your risk releasing them all at once at the event. By keeping these thoughts, worries, and fears in a journal, you’re releasing all negativity prior to the event.

Make sure to include things such as:

  • Emotional symptoms which may arise
  • Physical symptoms which may arise
  • Where things can go wrong
  • Worst potential outcomes

This writing exercise is a way to recognize the pattern of your anxiety. By recognizing this, you’ll gain more control over it than it has over you.

Take the Time to Worry

Often, people with anxiety feel they should push back their anxiety symptoms. Not only is this dangerous but it’s also unhealthy for the mind. The truth of the matter is people with anxiety are bound to worry one way or another. And if you can take the time to worry, you’ll be much better off.

So, when is the right time to worry?

That depends entirely on your schedule. Consider looking at what you do on a day-to-day basis and figure out which times are best for those emotions. Potentially, these are the times you can write your worries in a journal.

By allowing yourself to worry, you’ll feel much better throughout the day.

Understand Life Can Be Uncertain

At the end of the day, no matter what you do, you can’t predict every time you’ll feel anxiety. It’s an unfortunate aspect of the disorder, but it’s unavoidable.

The above suggestions can help you predict and plan out certain moments when the anxiety kicks in.

Your Questions

If you have further questions pertaining to the above information, feel free to ask them in the comments below. If you have any advice to share on the topic, we’d also love to hear from you. We try to get back to everyone in a prompt and personal manner.

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