How an Anxiety Disorder Is More than Just Being Anxious
Everyone experiences anxiety from time to time. It is a normal human emotion that helps us move forward in our lives and cope with everyday challenges. Anxiety can motivate us to study for a test or finish a project at work. It is the key to the fight-or-flight response in a potentially dangerous situation. A little anxiety in our lives, once in a while, is actually healthy. It helps us get things done.
Anxiety becomes a problem, however, when it doesn’t affect you just occasionally. When it begins to consume your thoughts daily, it becomes something more serious. When anxiety starts to affect your work, personal life, or health, an anxiety disorder may be surfacing
Millions of Americans suffer from anxiety disorders. Their lives can be ruled by them. They experience overwhelming and uncontrollable feelings that interfere with their daily lives, making it nearly impossible to function in society without help.
What Are Some Types of Anxiety Disorders?
Anxiety disorders are usually centered around an excessive and irrational fear or dread. Several types of anxiety disorders are:
Agoraphobia: The fear of being in an unfamiliar place or one where you can’t escape.
Panic Disorder: An anxiety disorder that triggers recurring, intense panic attacks.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Being in a state of constant worry.
Social Anxiety Disorder: The inability to be the center of attention or talk to new people.
Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders
There are many physical symptoms of anxiety, some or all of which are indicators that the anxiety being experienced is more than just a normal anxious moment. These may include:
- A racing heart beat
- Rapid breathing
- Dry mouth
- Inability to function at home or work
- Uncontrollable fears
- Flashbacks to a traumatic event
Studies link anxiety disorders to substance abuse and an increased risk for suicide. Any severe, persistent symptoms of anxiety should be reported to a doctor immediately.
What Are the Differences Between Everyday Anxiety and Anxiety Disorders?
So what are the key differences between having one of these types of anxiety and just being anxious?
Just being anxious is usually triggered by something specific taking place in your life. Going on a first date, having a major project at school due soon, or having even a minor illness without a specific diagnosis can all cause anxiety. These anxiety triggers, however, all have a defined, fairly short time span, and the feelings of anxiety will most likely subside when the event is over.
People with anxiety disorders are often anxious all the time, for no specific reason. Their fears are usually irrational, and there isn’t necessarily a specific trigger for them. What is usually behind the symptoms of a person with an anxiety disorder is an extreme lack of self-esteem and self-worth. Someone with an anxiety disorder has likely internalized many negative experiences in life, and these experiences that have worn down their ability to simply face the day.
How to Manage an Anxiety Disorder
One of the only ways for someone with anxiety disorder to lessen their anxiety is to concentrate on letting go of those negative feelings that are keeping them down. They need to learn how to deflect any new negative experiences that come their way. This effort improve self-esteem and help a person feel worthwhile.
Over time, with practice, someone with an anxiety disorder can lessen their irrational fears enough to help them feel better about themselves. They may not be able to eliminate their anxious feelings altogether — after all, we all have them at times — but they may be able to handle day-to-day life a little more easily. Going to a party or meeting new people will be much easier once someone has overcome an anxiety disorder.