Do I have an anxiety disorder?
The term anxiety disorder covers a whole range of conditions including panic, phobias, OCD, social anxiety and even PTSD. In the UK, an estimated 1 in 4 people each year will experience common mental health problems like anxiety. Unfortunately, few people report their experiences and even fewer seek support for their mental health.
Firstly, it’s important to mention that some anxiety is completely natural; we can find ourselves worrying about any number of things in our lives for any number of reasons. Anxiety can even be helpful in some situations by motivating us to protect ourselves, as well as coming up with solutions for issues that could arise. However, an excess amount of anxiety for a prolonged period of time can be particularly debilitating and stressful to deal with.
There is a natural intangibility that comes with mental health that is less apparent with physical health issues, and that certainly adds to the stigma and reluctance for people to come forward and discuss their difficulties with it. While you can’t necessarily see a mental health problem like anxiety in the same way that you can see a fractured arm, there are definitely some indicators you can look out for. Here are three of the main ones:
- Worrying the majority of the time about various things and feeling as though you are unable to control it
- Feeling on edge or afraid that something bad will inevitably happen
- Having trouble relaxing and being more restless than normal
Moreover, someone in an anxiety-provoking situation, whatever that may be for the individual, is also likely to experience the same physiological stress-response that is activated when we find ourselves in dangerous situations- increased heart rate, feeling flushed and nauseated, amongst other symptoms. While you may experience these somatic effects for a short amount of time and they subside once the situation is over, prolonged anxiety can be extremely distressing.
Anyone that may identify with the above should note that while anxiety can feel all-consuming and overwhelming, especially if there is no apparent trigger, there are so many techniques available to us that can help us to regain control over it. For instance, CBT can be a great tool to reach the meaning of your anxious thoughts that automatically arise and, therefore, learn strategies to manage them.
Please be aware that while these can be identifying factors of an anxiety disorder, they are neither definitive nor exclusive to anxiety, and diagnoses should be made by a psychologically trained professional. If you think you may be suffering with anxiety or any other mental health problems, please contact us now at The Blue Tree Clinic.