Feeling concern for your loved one who's driving through a thunderstorm is a reasonable level of worry. Keeping yourself awake at night by thinking about all of the things that could possibly harm your loved one — that could indicate a problem. Anxiety is a serious issue, and one that shouldn't be taken lightly. But paying attention to the signs you have a legit anxiety disorder can help you know when it's time to seek help.
Granted, it can be tricky to tell the difference between a normal level of worry and a destructive level of worry. Abstract ideas like fear are pretty impossible to quantify, after all. But according to the National Institute of Mental Health, if your anxiety does not go away over time, and it even seems to get worse, you may have an anxiety disorder. The feelings of worry may even start to hamper your work performance or the quality of your relationships.
For what it's worth, though, anxiety sufferers are not alone. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, approximately 40 million adults are affected by an anxiety disorder in the United States alone. It is by no means uncommon, and help is definitely available for those who want to decrease their overall level of anxiety. The first step, though, is developing an awareness of your symptoms. Here are some common signs you may have an anxiety disorder, and should consult a doctor for a professional diagnosis.
1. You Suffer From Serious Headaches
Sure, many things can cause crushing headaches. But if you don't seem to have another explanation, then it's possible your headaches are caused by an anxiety disorder, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA). They are a particularly common symptom.
2. You Worry About Worrying
Worrying about excessive worry is actually no joke. As noted by the Mayo Clinic, feeling concerned about your tendency to worry may point to an anxiety disorder. Seeking help may help you to put your mind at rest.
3. You're Jumpy
Do you startle easily? Jumping at every last noise is sometimes a sign of trouble. As explained by WebMD, being easily startled is one symptom of an anxiety disorder. Chances are, you're kind of on edge most of the time.
4. You Have Catastrophic Thoughts
Can you easily imagine the worst-case scenario for any given situation? This is known as catastrophic thinking, as noted by Psyche Central. To make matters worse, this tendency to picture terrible outcomes will probably only make your anxiety worse.
5. You Have Trouble Sleeping
Most everyone loses a night of sleep now and then due to some worry. But persons with an anxiety disorder can take this tendency to the next level. As explained by the ADAA, an anxiety disorder can cause a new sleeping problem, or make existing sleeping problems worse. And few things will make you feel as lousy as a bad night's sleep.
6. You're Unable To Relax
For some people with anxiety, trying to chill is an exercise in futility. As explained by Help Guide, having an anxiety disorder can make relaxation next to impossible. Feeling tense all the time is a terrible sensation.
7. You Suffer From Stomach Issues
Feeling nauseous (or worse) when you're worried is an aggravating symptom. But as noted by Calm Clinic, persons who have an anxiety disorder often have a lot of stomach issues to go along with it. For many people, it's too easy to carry your stresses in your gut.
8. You Blank Out
Have you ever had your mind just go blank for no apparent reason? It's an annoying, and sometimes scary, feeling. And according to WebMD, going blank is another common symptom of anxiety. It's like your brain just gives up when you ask it to recall something.
9. You Have Intense Fatigue
All that worry can wreck havoc on your body. As explained by WebMD, extreme fatigue is another typical anxiety symptom. For many people, it's that awful one-two punch of feeling tired all day and unable to sleep at night.