When does anxiety develop into disorder?

It is difficult to find a person who has never experienced anxiety in his life. The reason for this can be very different: an entrance exam, an interview for a new job, a wedding day, illness of loved ones. The state of anxiety and anxiety that a person can control is quite natural and does not cause much harm to health. But sometimes anxiety can develop into generalized anxiety disorder and seriously impair quality of life. What symptoms and circumstances indicate it? When is it worth seeking help from a specialist?

A habit since childhood

Generalized anxiety disorder can be diagnosed in a person of any age. Experts note that people with chronic anxiety tend to be restless and less stress-resistant from childhood than their peers. At the very beginning, mental problems are invisible to others. Symptoms of mental illness may worsen during adolescence or adulthood. A common reason for this is serious changes in life: moving, getting a new job, having a child, divorce. Those who were less suspicious as children cope better with turmoil and stress. 

Useless anxiety

Excitement and anxiety are generally beneficial feelings. If a person had never experienced them, then most likely he would not be so active and functional. Controlled anxiety is good at stimulating and motivating people to take action to maintain order and balance in their lives. For example, if a student is worried about taking an exam, then he will try to better study the subject and the answers to the test questions. Subsequently, this will give a positive result.

But sometimes anxiety gets out of control and a real exam phobia develops: even a well-prepared person feels depressed, constrained and unable to take any action. He may be thrown into cold sweat, a lump in the throat that prevents clear speech. As a result, the student falls into a stupor and cannot clearly answer simple questions. If excitement and anxiety no longer stimulate, but only cause discomfort and interfere with the usual activities, then you should contact a specialist.

Change in habitual behavior

Psychologists believe that everyone should experience symptoms of anxiety from time to time during their life. This partly hardens the nervous system, teaches adaptation and stress resistance. The most important factor in the development of anxiety disorder is sudden changes in behavior and strong emotions that disrupt the usual rhythm of life. If at every stressful situation a person refuses to attend work, classes, avoids social responsibilities and even his favorite things (watching a TV series, walking with a pet), then this should be paid special attention. It is possible that symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder are present and need to be treated with the help of a doctor.

Serious stress

Severe stress and psychological trauma can leave an indelible mark on the psyche of people and cause PTSD. Therefore, people who have experienced traumatic life events often suffer from increased anxiety associated with the object of past stress. For example, if a person has been in a serious car accident, then the driving process can cause him anxiety and uncontrollable excitement. In this case, you need to contact a psychologist and undergo the necessary therapy.  

Life around phobias

Most people who have anxiety disorders do not externally give out themselves in any way and, moreover, they themselves are not aware of the presence of a painful condition. They just avoid situations that really worry them. Even if obsessive phobia and anxiety forces them to spend most of their time at home, they may not acknowledge the problem. When even the smallest change in the usual way of life (going out, speaking at a parent meeting, receiving guests) begins to cause serious concern and excitement, then most likely we are talking about an anxiety disorder.

Physical symptoms of anxiety

Psychological studies have shown that most people with anxiety disorder are more likely to complain of chronic headaches, abdominal cramps, bouts of hunger, poor posture and back pain. Because of this, they can regularly visit doctors without understanding the true cause of the problem. If doctors do not find specific explanations for the development of pain, then it is quite possible that a person has an anxiety disorder.

Sleep problems

It is one thing when a person does not sleep well before a responsible competition, exam or performance, and quite another, when insomnia follows him every day. This symptom almost constantly accompanies people with anxiety disorder. Restless and intermittent sleep, or its complete absence, is a signal that a malfunction occurs in the body. It is necessary to quickly identify its cause and begin appropriate treatment. 

Panic attacks

This is the name of the evolutionary adaptive function of a person, in which he wants to protect himself by any means or run away. Rare panic attacks do not necessarily indicate symptoms of mental illness, as they are a normal response to extreme fear. But some people suffer from panic attacks much more often than from panic disorders. Abnormal are those cases when a person panics for reasons unknown to him or without them, as well as when he is very afraid of the panic attacks themselves. The most effective psychological treatment for panic disorder is exposure therapy, which involves deliberately confronting a person with their fears and panic in order to learn how to control them.

Deteriorating socialization

Excitement before public speaking is a natural reaction. By following certain rules and practices, stage and crowd fear can be overcome. But sometimes, against the background of social anxiety, a person develops a phobia of people (anthropophobia), in which it is scary and unpleasant to be near unfamiliar persons both at the psychological and physical levels. If a person next to other people regularly feels bad (heart rate accelerates, skin turns red, dizzy, slightly nauseous), this may indicate not only poor socialization, but also a mental disorder.

event_note December 25, 2020

account_box Winona Tse MD

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