Anxiety is a serious issue which should not be taken lightly. People have a tendency to let these anxious feelings create additional negative emotions. In fact, this can create a feedback loop that creates more feelings of anxiety. Individuals gradually move from considering why did an experience make them anxious, to why are they always so anxious.
This second type of anxiety creates negative feelings that are damaging to a person’s self-worth and overall mental health. Due to this fact, it is essential that people learn how to manage their anxiety as well as recognize thoughts and behaviors that may be connected to a more serious anxiety disorder.
According to the American Psychiatric Association, there are six types of anxiety disorders: generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, phobias, agoraphobia, social anxiety disorder and separation anxiety disorder. The occurrence of these mental health conditions among the U.S. population is as follows:
- Generalized anxiety disorder – 2 percent.
- Panic disorder – 2 to 3 percent.
- Specific phobia – 7 to 9 percent.
- Agoraphobia – 2 percent.
- Social anxiety disorder – 7 percent.
- separation anxiety disorder – 1 to 2 percent.
Overall, in the United States, more women are diagnosed with anxiety disorders than men. This is similar to the statistics for other mental health conditions like depression.
Anxiety – Normal Versus Disorder:
Some level of anxiety, or stress, is an everyday part of life. So how can individuals judge whether they are experiencing normal, everyday anxiety versus an anxiety disorder?
Here are some examples of everyday anxiety that is commonly experienced by most people.
- Worrying about paying bills, finding a job and other important life events.
- Experiencing nervousness before a big presentation, performance or important event.
- Having feelings of sadness and anxiety immediately after a traumatic event.
However, more severe mental health conditions like an anxiety disorder produce a different experience.
- Constant, uncontrollable worry that creates so much distress that it actually interferes with daily life.
- Experience random panic attacks for no apparent reason, which creates a profound fear of future panic attacks.
- Have recurring nightmares and flashbacks related to a traumatic event that occurred several months or even years ago.
So what is a normal level of anxiety versus an anxiety disorder? People should remember that to be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, the anxiety or fear that they feel must be disproportionate to the situation. When this happens, it actually reduces their ability to function normally.
These anxiety attacks can impact people’s career, school performance, family life as well as social relationships.
It is actually necessary and healthy for people to feel some anxiety. These feelings help people prepare and signal that something is potentially dangerous or requires attention. It is when these feelings are amplified and everything feels like a dangerous situation. In this instance, normal anxiety is becoming a problem that may require assistance from a healthcare provider.
Managing Daily Anxiety:
People should remember that their anxiety is an external feeling or concept. It should not become an entrenched personal identity. People should remember that their anxiety should not define who they are. The anxiety is a term used to define an event, but not an individual. Self-labeling will not help. When people believe that they cannot change their anxiety, they stop taking steps to achieve any beneficial improvements.
Individuals should understand that anxiety is a normal part of everyday life. In order to successfully manage anxiety, people need to think about their anxiety less as a negative label and more as expected part of life.
Experiencing a high level of anxiety is obviously not beneficial to one’s mental health. But, typical levels of anxiety is actually helpful and allows people to adapt to situations. It is helpful to remember that some anxiety provides a protective mechanism for people.
Anxious thoughts and feelings are not something that happens 24 hours a day. When people are anxious, they may feel like there never was a time when they were are not anxious. This is because anxiety is such an intense experience, individuals tend to feel that every waking hour is spent dealing with these thoughts. Yet, there are actually many times in their life when they are not anxious.
Occasional anxiety is an expected part of daily life. People may feel anxious when faced with a problem at work, before taking a test or before making a life important decision. But this is normal and healthy. A trained mental health professional can help people identify times when they are not anxious as well as develop comping strategies for events that trigger anxious feelings.
When panic and anxiety symptoms escalate into anxiety attacks and panic attacks, individuals may suffer from an anxiety disorder. Anxiety attacks and panic attack symptoms can be treated with medication, psychotherapy or other mental health treatments.
However, instead of wondering whether something bad will happen, people should ask themselves how they will deal with it? People are not able to control what happens to them, but they can control how they think about it.
About Emerald Psychiatry & TMS Center:
Well-structured and professionally guided medication management plans are one of the specialties at Emerald Psychiatry & TMS Center. Their psychiatry practice strives to meet the needs and concerns of their patients. By forming a trusting partnership with their patients, Emerald Psychiatry generates a comprehensive treatment plan that is customized to an individual’s needs.
Emerald Psychiatry & TMS Center is proud to provide behavioral and mental health services throughout central Ohio. For more information about treatments and services, contact them.
Contributor: ABCS RCM