For each one of us, there are times and seasons in life when stress, fear, and anxiety strikes. New job interviews, first dates, and the dreaded public speaking opportunities are all times when the butterflies multiply in our stomachs, and our heart rate quickens. While this feeling of anxiety may be unpleasant, it usually disappears once the stressful situation is over.
However, for millions of individuals, anxiety lingers beyond unique circumstances and infiltrates into everyday experiences. Coming at varying degrees of severity, this consistent anxious feeling can keep individuals from living happy, productive lives. Impacting nearly 40 million adults over the age of 18, or about 18% of the total US population, anxiety disorders are a leading mental illness.
As a Berkeley psychologist, I work with numerous individuals who struggle with the stranglehold that anxiety can place on their lives. While each individual’s experience is different and unique, there are several consistent symptoms that arise in most people with anxiety disorders.
If you have begun to notice anxious thoughts and emotions ruling your day – often without reason – you may be dealing with an anxiety disorder. Consider the following symptoms of anxiety disorders, and consider contacting me today to learn how targeted therapy can help you take control of your life once more:
5 Signs Of Anxiety
Excessive Worrying Daily
We all worry. Whether it’s about our own circumstances or the situation that a friend or family may be facing, the fear of the unknown can lead to normal amounts of worry. However, those who are suffering from anxiety disorders often find themselves worrying excessively. Obsessive thoughts and irrational fears may fill their minds every day, keeping them from living their lives productively. These excessive worries may be about very real issues but are often related to irrational possibilities or realities.
You Find It Hard To Sleep
Those who suffer from anxiety disorders may find it difficult to “shut down their minds” at the end of each day. Irrational thoughts and fears, as well as dwelling on unknown potentialities, can keep you awake at night, unable to calm down enough to get restful sleep. In many cases, the anxiety that comes from being unable to sleep can become an obsession in itself – causing an anxiety spiral that can keep you from getting the sleep necessary to stay happy and healthy.
You Have Constant Indigestion or Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Anxiety disorders can often manifest themselves in physical ways. The constant stress that comes from increased anxiety can cause your digestive system to go into overload and cause symptoms often related to IBS – which may be why this disorder is called the “anxiety of the digestive system.” While IBS doesn’t always equal an anxiety disorder is present, consistent struggles with digestion combined with the other symptoms on this list may be a sign you are suffering from an anxiety disorder.
You Experience Panic Attacks
Panic attacks are the sudden onset of feelings of fear and helplessness and can include sudden difficulty breathing, rapid heartbeat, tingling and numbness, and sweating. Panic attacks can be incredibly frightening, as they can often strike unexpectedly, leading you to lose control of your ability to comprehend reality and calm down enough to come to your senses. An onset and consistent appearance of panic attacks can be a leading sign of anxiety disorders, and you should quickly seek help if you begin to experience panic attacks frequently.
You Are Plagued By Self-Doubt & Perfectionism
A hidden symptom of anxiety disorders that I often find in my clients is a desire for perfection in their lives. These individuals are often plagued by self-doubt, obsessing over their every move and decision as though the entire world will condemn them should they fail. These misplaced expectations are often located solely in their minds and can be a sign that anxious thoughts are becoming more than you can handle. Beware the uncontrollable need for perfection, as it may be hiding a serious anxiety issue.
If you find yourself relating to some of the above symptoms, you may be suffering from an unnecessary amount of anxiety – and perhaps an anxiety disorder itself. It never hurts to learn more about anxiety disorders and if your struggles are consistent with a disorder that can be treated. I would love to speak with you to discuss how anxiety is both a common struggle for many individuals and how you are not alone in your suffering. There is hope for those who are willing to take the first step to hope. Contact me today to learn more.