Rachelle Zemlok, PsyD
DO I HAVE ANXIETY?
Updated: Oct 4, 2019
Ask Yourself these questions to find out...
On Most days…
1. Do I feel restless or on edge?
2. Am I easily fatigued?
3. Do I have difficultly concentrating or find my mind going blank?
4. Do I find myself to be irritable?
5. Do I have muscle tension?
6. Do I have trouble sleeping?
If you find the answer is yes to at least three of these questions, and you have felt this way for over six months, there is a good chance you meet the criteria for an anxiety disorder. If you feel this way now, and it’s the result of a recent event you may also meet the criteria for an anxiety disorder, but better explained by adjustment to a life transition or a traumatic event.
If you have anxiety you might often find your self worried about unlikely events. You might find your mind going through“what ifs…” and then making choices based off those “what ifs.” When one worry passes, your mind might quickly find something new to worry about. You may try and control situations with the “right plan” or the “right way” to do things and find it’s hard to tolerate not being in control of situations.
If you do struggle with anxiety, you’re not alone. The Wold Health Organization reports that an anxiety disorder is the most common mental health condition worldwide. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America estimates that nearly 18% of individuals in the U.S. experience an anxiety disorder and reports that most individuals develop symptoms prior to age 21.
Serious anxiety can really get in the way of life. It can be hard to fall asleep, stay asleep, and you might even have nightmares resulting from your worries or concerns. Having a busy mind full of worries can keep your body in a heightened state of arousal which can be exhausting physically. It’s no wonder why individuals with anxiety often experience many physical symptoms as a result like stomach issues, headaches, migraines, muscle aches and chest tightness.
You can confirm this with a diagnosis from a therapist, counselor, psychologist, psychiatrist, or your primary care physician. When we are making this diagnosis we’re assessing whether or not you experience many of the symptoms on most days of the week. We are determining whether your worries are related to a recent event or if they have been generally occurring in many different situations for longer than 6 months. We are also interested in how these symptoms actually get in the way of your life responsibilities, such as work and your relationships. Often times individuals with anxiety feel like there are things they wish they could do that their worries prevent them from doing such as going out to social events with friends, leaving their kids, getting a new job, or something very specific like getting on a plane.
It is true that you can experience symptoms of anxiety and can also be managing them in a way that allows you to live your life the way you intend. Worries aren’t all bad. We don’t want to get rid of them all together. They keep us alive! However, there’s a sweet spot when it comes to worries. If you’re worries feel overwhelming most of the time, like they are out of your control, or you start attempting to avoid certain things that you know will increase your worries you might benefit from some extra help.
We know that anxiety disorders in general run in families due to reasons based on genetics and modeling. Actually, higher levels of worries in general can be commonly found in individuals from first responder families. Find out why here.