15 Ways to Tell if You’re Suffering From an Anxiety Disorder from 15 Ways to Tell if You’re Suffering From an Anxiety Disorder

15 Ways to Tell if You’re Suffering From an Anxiety Disorder

Do you have an anxiety disorder? Or are you just a little nervous and anxious every now and then? Anxiety is more than just a feeling; it’s an illness that affects its victims both mentally and physically.

*Related: NEVER Say These Things to a Person Suffering From Anxiety

Your body is equipped with the fight or flight system. It’s a system that is designed to make it simple for you to fight or run at any sign of danger. When the fight or flight system is unsteady, anxiety is caused.

According to research, “it is estimated that between 5-11 percent of people will experience a form of general anxiety disorder during their lifetime.”

There are many different forms of anxiety. Some of them include generalized anxiety, phobias, social anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Continue reading to find out if you are suffering from an anxiety disorder.

You worry a lot

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You worry about everything – small things, big things, everyday things. As much as you try to shake it, you just can’t. The more you overthink and the more you worry, the worse things seem. This only causes you to worry more.

Trouble sleeping

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Many individuals who suffer from anxiety report trouble sleeping. This may be due to their excessive worry or anxiousness. I’m sure we have all experienced this at one point – trying to fall asleep with a million things running through your head, stressing about the past, present or future events. Those who have an anxiety disorder experience this frequently. In many cases this results in sleep deprivation and insomnia.

Muscle tension

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Muscle tension is said to be one of the most common physical symptoms of stress and anxiety. “When your fight or flight system is activated - which occurs during times of stress and anxiety - your muscles contract,” according to CalmClinic. In addition, those who suffer from an anxiety disorder find it difficult for the tension to go away because they have trouble worrying about the pain and feeling anything other than the discomfort it is causing them.

Restlessness

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You’re constantly restless and feeling on edge. You have trouble sitting still and staying in a calm state of mind. This symptom may be caused due to the fight or flight system. Since you are not fighting anything and are not running from anything, all of that adrenalin sits with you. This in turn makes you wired and restless (CalmClinic).

Digestive problems

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Your digestive system may be directly related to your emotions. Have you ever had “gut feelings,” or butterflies in your stomach? This is one of the many ways your brain and digestive system are related. Stress and anxiety have the ability to release hormones that affect the entire digestive system. It can cause indigestion, heartburn, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcers and changes in serotonin levels.

Excessive/Irrational fear

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People suffering from anxiety disorders may have intrusive thoughts that constantly appear in their mind. They usually need to constantly check on others or items because they live with the fear that if they stop, something bad will happen. For instance, an individual with OCD may constantly walk through their home to make sure all of the windows and doors are locked because they are afraid someone may try to break in (psychguides.com).

Perfectionism

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One of the most common symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is perfectionism. Individuals who suffer from this anxiety disorder may perform rituals or actions to make sure that things are always perfect. For them, this may be the only way they feel like they can relieve their anxiety. For example, checking and rechecking their work over and over because they fear what may happen if they overlook a mistake.

Overthinking

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Obsessive thinking is common among those who suffer from anxiety disorders. According to research, “the anxious brain is hypervigilant; always on the lookout for anything it perceives to be dangerous or worrisome.” One may obsess over what he or she should have said but didn’t say, or create fearful scenarios in their head about what could go wrong.

Elevated heart rate

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Anxiety and panic can result in an elevated heart rate, shortness of breath, chest discomfort, and palpitations. Whatever it is that is causing you stress and making you anxious, is increasing your heart rate. This sometimes results in panic attacks. *See: 10 Surprising Things You Never Knew About Your Heart

You have flashbacks

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Individuals that are constantly worrying and living in fear have a tendency to replay the horrific things from their past over and over again in their heads. Reliving a traumatic event can be a sign of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Trouble in the spotlight

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Social anxiety is a form of anxiety in which the individual has trouble interacting in social situations. Speaking in front of a large group causes them distress. They may feel self-conscious, or fear judgment and criticism. They may also be anxious when they are the center of attention, being introduced to other people, and being teased or criticized (socialphobia.org).

Fatigue

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Also known as, chronic fatigue anxiety disorder. Individuals who suffer from anxiety may feel like they lack energy, they are always exhausted, small tasks are draining, they feel “burnt out,” and they have no stamina (anxietycentre.com). *See: 20 Things You Shouldn’t Do Before Bed

Self-consciousness

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At some point or another we have all felt nervous or self-consciousness. But when feelings of self-doubt and self-consciousness begin to occur more frequently, this may be a sign you are suffering from an anxiety disorder. For example, social anxiety may cause people to be fearful about going into situations where they are afraid they may be judged. They may go to extreme lengths to avoid being put in situations that may cause them anxiety.

Panic attacks

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One of the most extreme symptoms of an anxiety disorder is panic attacks. They occur when fear and discomfort are too much to handle. Some of the symptoms of panic attacks include sweating, heart palpitations, chest discomfort, nausea, light-headedness and increased heart rate.

Compulsive behavior

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Similar to “perfectionism” mentioned earlier, OCD is commonly associated with compulsive behaviors. According to research, “compulsions are behaviors or rituals that you feel driven to act out again and again. Usually, compulsions are performed in an attempt to make obsessions go away.” Suffers of OCD often feel the urge to act on a behavior to rid their anxious feelings. For instance they may constantly wash their hands and check the stove 10 times in a row to make sure it’s turned off.