We’ve all been anxious before, whether it’s been a big presentation at work or when the numbers don’t line up in our monthly budget. While we may be faced with intense worry, it usually recedes and we are able to move on with our daily lives.
For someone who faces clinical anxiety, that’s not the case. When a person is struggling with one of many anxiety disorders, he or she is unable to move forward and function productively on a day-to-day basis.
If you’ve faced anxiety or know someone who might be struggling, here are some signs of anxiety and how to spot them— both common signs and ones that are harder to see.
Signs and symptoms of anxiety
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or the DSM V, anxiety is characterized by excessive worry or fear that occurs for a majority of days for six months or more. The anxiety is generally uncontrollable and is not better explained by another mental health disorder, substance use or another health condition.
The following are signs of anxiety
- Intense worry or fear;
- Feeling restless;
- Feeling tense;
- Inability to focus;
- Rapid heart rate;
- Rapid breathing;
- Changes in appetite;
- Problems with digestion;
- Avoiding places and events that trigger anxiety.
Hidden signs of anxiety
While some signs of anxiety are easier to spot, others are not. Here are some things that could tip you off that you or someone you know is struggling with intense worry or fear.
- Increasing difficulty in school or work;
- Falling asleep at work or school;
- Talking about being up all night;
- Feeling nauseous;
- Constant complaints of pain (headaches, indigestion);
- Making excuses for avoiding social gatherings;
- Zoning out;
- Being easily angered or frustrated;
- Always wanting to leave a situation;
- Hypervigilance (looking around, watching your back);
- Hair loss;
- Feeling a tightness in your throat.
While these signs may indicate a struggle with an anxiety disorder, they do not guarantee someone is struggling with anxiety. These signs must be coupled with the symptoms listed in the DSM V.
A tell-tale sign that anxiety is severe is that it inhibits functioning. If you, your friend or your family member is having difficulty managing nervousness to the point that — social relationships, work or school, hygiene practices (sleep, exercise and eating) and other areas of life are impossible — this is considered a functional impairment.
While many people experience feeling anxious, it doesn’t always mean that an anxiety disorder is present. The information in the article is only meant to act as a guide.
If you’re on the fence about whether your experiences could qualify as an anxiety disorder, your best bet is to get a professional opinion.
Identifying symptoms of anxiety
While anxiety symptoms may appear obvious while reading them, they’re harder to pinpoint in real life. Sometimes anxiety symptoms present as personality traits. Your friend may appear shy instead of nervous or seem to be energetic instead of facing insomnia.
Anxiety symptoms may also be much more intense than it appears from the outside. Someone who is planning to publicly speak may seem to be concentrating beforehand, but really they’re struggling with racing thoughts and nausea.
Noticing anxiety in ourselves can also be a challenge. You may have struggled with restlessness and worry for years, thinking it is normal but in actuality suffering from undiagnosed anxiety.
In order to identify symptoms of anxiety, you’ll need to first learn about the diagnostic criteria and other possible signs of anxiety. The next step is building an awareness of patterns in your daily life. Repetitive thoughts and behaviors that line up with the signs listed above are red flags you’ll want to take note of.
Noticing less obvious signs of anxiety in others can be challenging. Sometimes the best way to identify signs of anxiety is to listen more closely and watch for physical signs. Listen for physical complaints, fear that seems out of proportion to the event and changes in social activity.
The last thing you’ll need to do is assess how long you or your loved one has struggled with certain symptoms for. Those that have lingered for a few months should be discussed with a professional.
Getting help for anxiety
If the signs and symptoms of anxiety in this article have resonated with you, it’s time to get help. Thankfully, the outlook for anxiety when you get treatment is promising. With the right mindset and the right support, you can be on your way to recovery in no time.
At High Focus Centers you can find mental health treatment catered to you. Teletherapy and in-person services are available to meet your comfort level and compassionate professionals can assess your needs. Contact High Focus Centers at 800-877-3628 now.