Anxiety is a widespread issue, affecting 40 million adults in the United States aged 18 and older, as reported by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA). Generally, anxiety is characterized by a constant state of worry and fear about an uncertain future, which can manifest in physical and psychological impairments.
When anxiety prevents individuals from living normal life, it becomes a disorder. There are four common anxiety disorders, including Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Panic Disorder, Social Phobia, and Specific Phobias. Identifying which anxiety disorder you might have can be challenging due to overlapping or similar symptoms.
Here are five common symptoms of anxiety disorders that you shouldn’t ignore:
- Excessive worry: Persistent worry, whether about everyday matters or more significant issues, is a key symptom of anxiety disorders. If worry disrupts your daily routine or is accompanied by physical symptoms like muscle aches or fatigue, it may be a sign of a deeper issue.
- Disrupted sleep patterns: While it’s natural to feel nervous before important events, consistent sleep disturbances caused by agitated or worrisome thoughts may indicate an anxiety disorder. Waking up with a racing heart or mind and being unable to calm down are potential signs.
- Muscle tension: Persistent muscle tension, such as jaw clenching, shoulder raising, or making fists, is often linked to anxiety disorders. Regular exercise can help manage muscle tension, providing temporary relief.
- Persistent indigestion: Anxiety can manifest physically and exacerbate symptoms like abdominal cramps, pain, and nausea. People with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) may experience worsened symptoms due to anxiety.
- Panic attacks: Overwhelming fear and hopelessness accompanied by physical symptoms like a racing heartbeat, chest pain, hot or cold flashes, light-headedness, and sweating characterize panic attacks. These episodes can last several minutes and may lead to fear of when and where the next attack will occur.
If these symptoms resonate with your experience, it’s essential to seek professional help from a doctor or specialist. Proper treatment can help manage your symptoms, enabling you to live life more fully and peacefully.
As a faith-based community, we encourage you to contact your spiritual support system, such as your church or prayer group. Incorporating spiritual practices like prayer and meditation into your daily routine can also help alleviate anxiety and provide comfort. Remember, you are not alone in your journey toward peace and balance.