While’s it’s common for many people to experience anxiety during a stressful life event such as getting a divorce, losing a job, or moving, just over 18% of the American population suffers from chronic anxiety disorders. These people may also struggle with depression and are more likely to visit a doctor than people without anxiety.
But do you have anxiety? How can you tell if you’re truly living with it, or just going through a challenging time? The following eight signs may indicate that you have an anxiety disorder that may benefit from treatment.
1. You’re Not Sleeping Well
The average adult needs between seven and nine hours of sleep each night to feel their best. People with anxiety, however, often don’t get quality sleep because their mind races with worrying and stressful thoughts. When you’re constantly in a state of worry about your job, finances, relationship, or any other area that’s troubling you, sleep can be elusive.
If you have anxiety and do eventually fall asleep you may awaken in the middle of the night and find it impossible to doze off again. The stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline may be very active when you’re worrying and make it difficult to fall asleep.
Unfortunately, lack and sleep and anxiety go hand-in-hand and tend to feed each other in a dangerous cycle. That is why getting treatment for anxiety is important.
2. You Can’t Seem to Concentrate
Concentrating on work or an important task can be impossible when anxious thoughts are dominating your every waking moment. It’s pretty tough to concentrate on anything when you’re worried about something. While some of us can find ways to quiet our mind through meditation, exercise, or reading, people with chronic anxiety have a tough time quieting their thoughts.
If you can’t seem to get anything accomplished, even mindless housework, that’s a sign you may have anxiety.
3. Your Heart Races Easily
Feeling like your heart is ready to pound out of your chest when you think of anything stressful? That’s a telltale sign you have anxiety. Your adrenal glands are no doubt in overdrive producing the stress hormone adrenaline which then speeds up your heart rate.
This is actually part of our DNA’s fight-or-flight response when faced with danger. But people with anxiety may experience it more than usual and feel nervous if they don’t have an actual physical threat to combat. You may also become easily startled, especially if you feel jumpy all of the time.
4. You Worry Constantly About Things That Haven’t Happened Yet
Worrying is the body’s way of bracing itself for negative things that may happen to us in the future. While it’s normal to worry about some things once in a while, incessantly worrying about things that may never come to pass can be harmful.
The truth is we only have the present moment and we cannot predict what is going to happen tomorrow or in the future. Anxiety, however, clouds reasoning and causes people to worry about anything that can go wrong.
5. It Interferes With Your Relationships
When other people notice signs of your anxiety, that means you may want to seek help for it. In fact, they may notice it before you do. If you’re jittery, stressed out, and not acting like your usual self, it is going to get noticed by your friends and loved ones.
Anxiety may also prevent you from socializing with others, particularly if you suffer from social anxiety. But regular anxiety may have you wanting to stay at home in a safe space where you can focus on worrying in private. This can end up making your condition worse, as discussing problems with others can often decrease anxiety.
6. You Have an Upset Stomach
There is a huge connection between our minds and our digestive system. Stress and worrying can make us literally sick to our stomach and have us running to the bathroom with a bout of diarrhea or nausea.
So if your stomach seems off even though you’re eating healthy and don’t believe you have a stomach bug, that can indicate anxiety. Pay attention to moments when you need to use the toilet, and if any worrying thoughts preceded the bathroom visit.
7. You Have Problems Breathing
Shortness of breath or rapid breathing is also a common indicator of anxiety. Uneven breathing can also lead to panic attacks where you have uncontrollable feelings of doom and heart palpitations. It may only take minutes for your breathing to escalate.
8. You Sweat Easily
When your nervous system is irritated by stress-inducing thoughts, it can respond by activating your sweat glands. That is why some people get sweaty palms and armpits when they feel nervous or anxious. And it can make you feel even more anxious once you realize these glands are open and can’t be stopped easily.
You may also feel extremely hot all of a sudden when you have anxiety. The feeling is similar to a menopausal hot flash where the heat just courses over your body and it can be hard to cool down.
Do You Have Anxiety That Needs Treatment?
Any of these symptoms is a strong indicator that you should seek medical treatment for your anxiety. However, you shouldn’t delay receiving help if you’re suffering from any of the following as well:
- You’re taking alcohol or drugs to help soothe your anxiety
- Your anxiety is interfering with your ability to do your job
- You feel that you have no control over your thoughts
- You’re thinking of killing yourself; you should always seek emergency help for suicidal thoughts
Medical professionals may recommend a variety of treatments to help you manage your anxiety from therapy and breathing exercises to prescription medicine. CBD oil can also be effective in treating anxiety. Learn more about how CBD supplements can help you cope with anxiety disorders.
Recognize the Signs of Anxiety
The sooner you recognize these signs of anxiety, the sooner you can go about receiving treatment and get on with enjoying life again.
For more tips on how to always feel your best, read up on our latest Health posts.