Nearly 20% of adults in the US struggle with an anxiety disorder. This common mental illness can be caused by genetic factors, brain chemistry, personality or life events. Everyday anxiety can occur due to stressful events, but anxiety that is persistent, uncontrollable, excessive or irrational might be a sign you are struggling with an anxiety disorder.
Stress vs. Anxiety
Everyone will experience stress at some point in their life. You might feel stressed while planning a birthday party, trying to meet a tight deadline or before taking an important test. Stress can often be linked to a specific event, and when the event is over, the stress you feel will typically subside.
Anxiety is characterized by extreme fear or worry that is persistent, irrational or uncontrollable. Anxiety can be debilitating and all-encompassing. For example, the fear of disappointing people may prevent you from seeing your friends or meeting new people. The fear of failure might stop you from going to school or showing up to work. When anxiety interferes with your daily routine, it’s likely you have an anxiety disorder.
What does anxiety feel like?
If you notice any of the following symptoms and if they are severe enough that they interfere with your daily life, you could be struggling with anxiety.
- Feeling on-edge
- A sense of impending danger, panic or doom
- Increased heart rate
- Rapid breathing or hyperventilation
- Feeling weak or tired
- Difficulty concentrating
- Trouble sleeping
- Gastrointestinal problems
Treatment for anxiety
Anxiety is common and treatable. Anxiety can be treated a number of different ways. A combination of therapy, medication and lifestyle changes can help you overcome anxiety. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is one type of psychotherapy that can effectively treat anxiety. You can also download our free Guide to Managing Anxiety, which has several different tools and tips for coping with anxiety that you might find helpful.
If you’re ready to overcome your anxiety, contact one of our counseling centers. We’re here to help, whenever you’re ready.