An Introduction to Anxiety Disorders

Did you know that anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States? In fact, anxiety disorders affect over 40 million adults in the United States each year. An anxiety disorder can simply be defined as episodes of excessive worry with or without an obvious cause that interferes with daily activities. Someone who is battling anxiety, may feel their heart race rapidly in combination with nausea, sweating, and trembling. A lot of people have difficulty concentrating or controlling their worrisome thoughts.

There are various types of anxiety disorders, to name a few:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • Panic Disorder
  • Social Anxiety Disorder
  • Separation Anxiety Disorder
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Phobias

Although all these anxiety disorders are different, many of them share a few of the same symptoms that are brought on by different causes. With over 18.1% of the population being vulnerable with anxiety disorders every year, how can we determine if we are facing an anxiety disorder and what treatment options are available?

Here is my personal anxiety disorder checklist. If you can relate to any of these statements, you May be suffering from an anxiety disorder, and seeing a doctor can be very helpful to determine which one, the cause(s) and the right treatment path for you.

  • I have a constant feeling of worry.
  • I have irrational fears that I cannot get rid of.
  • I avoid certain activities or situations (triggers) that I know will make me anxious.
  • When I feel anxious, it can be difficult to focus on school and/or work.
  • I have a constant feeling of being a bit on edge.
  • My symptoms last for an entire day or longer.
  • It is difficult for me to meet new people or maintain relationships.
  • When I feel worried, I start sweating.
  • I have certain mental or physical “rituals” that drive my life.
  • I feel like something bad is going to happen if I do not do something in a certain way.
  • My responsibilities become overwhelming or difficult to do when I feel anxious.
  • I feel tense and jumpy.
  • I get flashbacks of intense traumatic experiences or of times I felt embarrassed.
  • When I am around a group of people, I feel extremely self-conscious.
  • Sometimes when I am worried, it is difficult to breathe.
  • My heart suddenly starts beating fast.
  • I have sudden attacks of self-doubt.
  • I pay close attention to signs of danger that could be around every corner.

Now that you have gone through my personal checklist, which I use to determine if I am simply worried over an exam or important work assignment or dealing with my anxiety disorder, it’s important to determine how you can help yourself through your anxiety attacks. Please note, seeing a counselor or therapist is very important for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan, but in the meantime, here are some coping mechanisms that have worked for me.

  • Mindful Breathing Exercises.
  • Listen to Music.
  • Create Positivity Journal.
  • Eat Healthy, High Energy Food.
  • Exercise Daily.
  • Get Enough Sleep (8-12 hours).
  • Watch Funny Movies or Listen to Comedy.
  • Talk to Someone You Trust.

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