Feeling anxious from time to time is something everyone experiences. Usually there is a reason for these feelings of worry, related to an upcoming event, or some sort of pressure we may be under. Job interviews, work projects, finances and family concerns are common things people worry about. Usually once these events or time periods have passed, so to do these feelings of concern. Here are three signs of anxiety you should seek professional help.
However, in some cases, these feelings of worry remain even once the event, or stressor, has passed. And at other times there is no obvious cause or reason for these feelings. In some instances, these feelings can act as an obstacle to your ability to live and function through your everyday life. When this occurs, it is likely that you’re suffering from an anxiety disorder. A common one of which is Generalised Anxiety Disorder, also known as GAD.
When someone suffers from GAD, they are usually in a state of persistent worry and nervousness more often that they are not. Often their worries and fears are difficult to control, taking over their thoughts. And while there may be no obvious cause for the feelings of worry, the feelings are present for long periods.
While the feeling of anxiety within someone suffering from GAD might be less dull than someone who experiences panic attacks, these feelings are present for longer, sometimes constantly. And when someone suffers from GAD, they may realise that their feelings of worry are somewhat more intense than the situation warrants, however they feel that they are unable to control them.
People of all ages, including children, may experience GAD, however, on average it usually starts presenting around the age of 30.
What Causes Generalised Anxiety Disorder?
Potential causes of GAD include:
- Genetics and Family History of Anxiety
- Excessive exposure to a stressful situation
- Learned behaviours and differences in how we perceive threats
- Difference in brain chemistry and development.
The cause of Generalised Anxiety Disorder is not usually due to one of the above factors, rather it is more often a result of a combination of factors that are both environmental and biological in nature.
Difficulties of Anxiety Disorders
Many people avoid seeking treatment for anxiety disorders, including GAD, and this can be for a number of reasons, including:
- Stigma or embarrassment of having a mental disorder
- A feeling or belief that no one can help
- Stubborn self-reliance
- Denial that they suffer from a mental disorder
No matter the reason for not seeking help, because GAD can impact a number of areas of their life, it can be damaging to the person’s overall well-being, so you should seek professional help.
If you believe you, or someone you know, may be experiencing GAD, here are some signs that it may be time to seek professional help.
1. Everyday Tasks become Unmanageable
Unfortunately, work can be a main contributor to feelings of stress and anxiety. This anxiety can be caused by working a stressful role with many competing deadlines, unhealthy colleague relationships, or a toxic work environment.
While no job is perfect, and there may be some form of stress or pressure in any role, when you have feelings of constant stress, or dread over the thought of going to work, this is when it starts to become a problem.
These feelings of stress and anxiety may cause you to:
- Find ways to avoid going into work
- Feeling as if there is no point in going to work
- Having difficulty performing everyday work tasks
An inability to perform everyday tasks in other areas outside work may occur. Things like not cleaning your home for exceptionally long periods of time, when you have the time to do so; catching up with friends; and making appointments and organising your schedules.
2. Relationships are Affected
Anxiety may not just affect you, but it may have an impact on others. And it can affect you outside of the working world. Your personal life, and relationships, with your partner, friends and family can all be impacted.
You may find yourself pushing away the people you are closest too, friends, family, and your partner, and this could be because of feelings of paranoia and distrust, or because you want to avoid them knowing you are experiencing anxiety. Or on the adverse, you may find yourself becoming overly reliant emotionally on them.
If you find your feelings and behaviour changing towards those that you are close with, and there is no obvious reason for this, it may be time to seek help for your anxiety. And if you are comfortable, confiding in your friends, partner, and family about the feelings you’re experiencing may help you help them understand your behaviour.
3. You’re Experiencing Physical Symptoms of Anxiety
While feelings of butterflies in your stomach when you’re nervous or sweating a little more than usual before a big presentation are normal, there are some physical signs that might point to you having a more serious anxiety disorder.
- Inability to sleep, or sleep well
- Excessive Perspiration
- Stomach Aches or Upset Stomach
- Shallow Breathing
- Feelings of tightness in your chest
- Numbness in extremities
- Chest Pain
It’s not uncommon to experience one of these feelings at some point in your life, but to experience them more frequently and some of them at the same time can be a sign that you are suffering from an anxiety disorder, and that it’s time to seek help.
Anxiety can impact many areas of your life, affecting your relationships, your work, your ability to manage and complete everyday tasks, and your overall quality of life. However, acknowledging that there is something wrong, and seeking professional help can help you improve your quality of life and manage your anxiety disorder. If you’re still unsure if you or someone you know is suffering from anxiety, click here to see how anxiety can ruin your life if left untreated.