As greater numbers of Americans seek and gain access to mental health resources, people across the country are beginning to wonder if they need treatment for various mental health issues. Chief among them is the treatment for anxiety disorders. Let’s see 6 common symptoms of anxiety.
A lot of us aren’t sure if we’re suffering from some form of anxiety or if we’re just living stressful lives and drinking too much coffee. So it’s essential to have the knowledge of what anxiety is and the different types that exist. That’s because various forms of anxiety often require different levels and types of treatment. In some cases, you’re going to quickly find relief from natural supplements like CBD drops; however, in others, you’re going to need more significant psychiatric intervention to find the relief that you deserve.
At the end of the day, this is really about creating the best mental health situation possible for you to live your best life. So, in this article, we will explore what anxiety is and what the most common symptoms are. We hope this will help you better understand your situation and decide for yourself what treatment options are best.
The Five Major Types of Anxiety Disorders
Before we begin, it’s important to acknowledge that “anxiety” is a catch-all term and that several different anxiety disorders exist. According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, the five major types of anxiety disorders are:
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Panic Disorder
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Social Phobia/Social Anxiety Disorder
Though the disorders are different, they do share many common symptoms. So let’s explore those now.
People who deal with an anxiety disorder often find themselves feeling constantly nervous, restless and tense. It can be hard to describe this feeling or even acknowledge it at times, but people generally describe it as some form of excitement but with a negative overlay. Physical manifestations can include an inability to stand or sit still or remain quiet. Shifting weight while standing, fidgeting with hair or clothing and constantly glancing about and surveying one’s surroundings are all indicators.
- Difficulty Focusing/Concentrating
Focus and concentration describe the ability to direct your attention toward a task, topic or person for a sustained time. Unfortunately, this one can be difficult to diagnose as an issue related to anxiety disorders. As the American Psychology Association points out, many of us give in to technological distractions as frequently as every six minutes.
However, it is believed that the average adult should be able to easily focus on a task for 15 or more minutes without having focus or concentration pulled away. If you can’t do this, even after incorporating strategies to lessen distractions in your immediate surroundings, it may be an indicator that you’re dealing with anxiety.
- Feelings of Danger
Like most animals in the world, humans have a fight or flight response that can kick in during situations that our brains consider extremely stressful, frightening or dangerous. It’s an automatic psychological reaction and a leftover from days when our lives were far less comfortable. However, when dealing with anxiety disorders, this response can misfire and come on us suddenly. And we call this panic. Perhaps it’s for no good reason, or we are mentally exaggerating issues that would be better left in the hands of a therapist. Regardless, it’s yet another sign that anxiety may be something you need to tackle.
- Rapid Heart Rate
Anxiety can manifest physically, as well, and rapid heart rate is a key indicator. A person’s average resting heart rate can be anywhere from 60 to 100 beats per minute. This varies from person to person, with age, general fitness levels and pre-existing medical issues all playing a role. It can fluctuate minute to minute, depending on mood and physical activity.
Any currently taken medications or supplements could also affect how many times the old ticker ticks per minute. Suppose you’re experiencing a heart rate of more than 100 beats per minute when not performing any physical activity, especially if it comes on suddenly. In that case, anxiety might be an unaddressed issue for you.
- Rapid Breathing
Also called over-breathing or hyperventilation, rapid breathing is another physical manifestation of anxiety in some people. What’s happening here is that your deeper and more rapid breathing is causing a decrease in CO2 gas in the blood. According to our friends over at the University of Michigan Medicine Department, this brings about feelings of light-headedness, can contribute to the rapid heartbeat we just mentioned and can leave a person feeling short of breath. In extreme cases, dizziness and collapse are also risks. If you’re currently suffering from episodes of panicked or rapid breathing, developing techniques to breathe slower can help. However, the best way to address it is to deal with the underlying cause, and it may be an anxiety disorder.
This is when you have recurring problems getting to sleep and staying asleep. Insomnia afflicts people with anxiety disorders because of all the issues we just discussed compounding at night when we finally try to get some rest. It can be challenging for those suffering from an anxiety disorder to calm or quiet their brain to get to that sweet moment of slipping into unconscious bliss. As well, if your heart is racing or you’re dealing with rapid breathing issues, there’s no chance you’ll be able to achieve the state of calm needed for slumber.
It’s important to note here that we all have bouts of sleeplessness from time to time, and factors like caffeine intake, screen time on our devices and significant life events like a birth, moving or marriage can all play a role. But if this is a constant and ongoing issue for you, you may be dealing with an anxiety disorder.
Treating Your Anxiety
Treating anxiety can come in a lot of ways. One method is to make positive lifestyle changes. This often includes following a solid routine to give your brain a rest and let it know what’s coming next. Morning and evening routines are great ways to balance possibly unpredictable work environments. Also, being sure to hydrate, eat a nutritious and balanced diet and get 30 minutes or more of exercise each day will all help you beat anxiety.
There are also some natural supplements that you can add to your life to help lessen anxiety issues. A recently popular one that is gaining traction, thanks to research into how it helps anxiety, is cannabidiol. Also known as CBD, it can be taken as CBD capsules along with your other daily vitamins. Many people are also finding relief by using essential oils in diffusers and baths. Chamomile and lavender are two popular essential oils that may help with anxiety and promote feelings of calm and relaxation.
You can always speak to a mental health professional as well. Anxiety is important to address, as it can impact your life negatively and keep you from being your best self. When we reach out for help, we’re doing ourselves a big favor and setting our lives on a path that will allow us to love life once more. Never be afraid to ask for help when you think you need it.