Do you struggle with anxiety? How do you know? What are the signs and symptoms? Here is some information that will help you answer these questions and decide if it is time for you to reach out for help.
Anxiety is a typical human reaction to danger - our "fight or flight" response. We are 'hardwired' for a certain amount of anxiety because it is helpful in times of distress when we are feeling threatened or under a great deal of pressure. Some anxiety can help us stay alert, take appropriate action, or push us to find a solution to the problem at hand. It is only when anxiety begins to interfere with our daily functioning and shows up in problematic ways that it has 'crossed the line' from helpful to unhelpful.
What are some of the signs and symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder?
- apprehensive thinking and worry that occurs more days than not, and has over the past several months
- you find it difficult to control your worrying
- you are experiencing some of the following symptoms: (1) on edge or restless; (2) easily fatigued; (3) difficulty concentrating; (4) irritability; (5) muscle tension; or (6) sleep disturbances
- your anxiety, worry and/or physical symptoms are causing problems for you in being able to function well in your job, social situations, or other important areas of your life
And here are some ways your body may respond physically to your anxious thinking (also see "panic disorder"):
- pounding heart / shortness of breath / chest pain or discomfort
- trembling / shaking / feeling dizzy or faint
- feelings of choking
- chills or heat sensations
- numbing or tingling sensations
- fear losing control
- fear of dying
I hear often from clients that they have gone to the emergency room in the midst of an 'anxiety attack' or 'panic attack' because they thought they were having a heart attack.
How common is anxiety?
The American Association of Anxiety & Depression reports the following:
- "Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year.
- Anxiety disorders are highly treatable, yet only 36.9% of those suffering receive treatment."
If you seem to be plagued by fears that your logical mind knows are irrational, you find yourself avoiding certain situations or activities because you know you will get anxious, or your ability to enjoy life is compromised because of your anxiety, then it is probably time to reach out for help. And help is available! I have worked with many, many clients over the years who have struggled with anxiety and panic. I can help you understand the cognitive component of anxiety, give you insight into certain personality characteristics or mindsets that are more prone to anxiety, and, I think, best of all, help you determine if your anxiety can best be treated with EMDR therapy.
Don't just resign yourself to having to live your life with overwhelming anxiety. Investigate the options that are available to you today.