It may begin with a sense of dread that you just can’t shake.
You might be irritable, anxious and fearful. All you do is worry. You cancel plans with your girlfriends. You can’t sleep.
And it’s not going away.
If this sounds like you, you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder. This article examines what an anxiety disorder is, how it can affect the sufferer’s life and where to get help.
Anxiety Disorder Definition
Everyone feels anxious from time to time; that is a normal part of life. An anxiety order is different. People with an anxiety disorder suffer fear or anxiety that is disproportionate to the situation, interfering with their ability to function in everyday life. People with an anxiety disorder find that it affects their work, relationships and socializing.
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million Americans age 18 and older, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. The good news is there are numerous effective treatment for anxiety disorders available — if you ask for help.
There is a broad range of types of anxiety disorders, but the two of the most common ones are generalized anxiety disorder and social anxiety disorder.
Signs & Symptoms
- Generalized anxiety disorder. People with generalized anxiety disorder face feelings of fear, anxiety and worry for months. Symptoms include an inability to control their worry and fear, becoming easily fatigued, difficulty concentrating, irritability and sleep disruption. Symptoms may get worse over time.
- Social anxiety disorder. People with social anxiety disorder have a significant and debilitating fear of social or performance situations. They feel incredibly anxious at the idea of being around other people, are overly concerned about feeling embarrassed or rejected by them, and may feel nauseous around other people. They go to great lengths to avoid such situations.
Anxiety Disorders Affect Every Area of Your Life
Relationships, personal success, professional success — having a generalized anxiety disorder or social anxiety disorder touches every area of life. You may find:
- Dating is difficult. The fear of being judged and rejected is so big; it makes it seem not worth it — not to mention the physical shaking, stammering and sweating of the first date.
- Romantic relationships are difficult. Is he cheating on you? Is he mad at you? Is he going to leave you? You sense your fears are unreasonable, but you can’t control them… and he’s growing frustrated with you.
- Family and friendships are difficult. It’s difficult to make friends, or you worry that the friendships you do have are on the brink of disintegration. The fear of judgment and rejection is so nerve-wracking, you find yourself declining social invitations.
- Work is difficult. You’re struggling to deal with everyday work issues, such as setting and meeting deadlines, managing staff, contributing to meetings and public speaking. You may even be losing out on promotions and other career opportunities.
According to the Mayo Clinic, therapy and medication are the two main treatment options. A combination of the two can significantly control symptoms and help you get back to leading a full and joyful life — but be patient while you find the right combination. It may take a bit of trial and error. Don’t give up. Millions of people have successfully treated generalized anxiety disorder and social anxiety disorder; you can, too!
If you recognize yourself in any of the above, please don’t suffer alone any longer. Reach out to a professional counselor. Thrivetalk provides online therapy that helps you learn new coping mechanisms, manage your anxiety and get through this difficult time.