It’s normal to feel anxious in certain situations, but when symptoms like nervousness or eating problems become a fixture of your daily life for months or longer, you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder. Fortunately, many common symptoms of anxiety are manageable, allowing you to regain control of your life.
Know The Symptoms
Do you have anxiety? There are telltale signs, including:
- You feel nervous, restless, or tense
- You have a constant sensation of being on the edge of danger or panic
- You have physical issues, like a faster heartbeat, hyperventilation, perspiration, shaking, or problems sleeping
- You experience persistent fatigue or tiredness
- You have problems focusing and can only think about current worries
- You have gastrointestinal difficulties
- You can’t stop worrying
- You have an intense desire to avoid anything that triggers anxiety
It’s not uncommon for someone with anxiety or an anxiety disorder to suffer from other physical or mental health illnesses, such as:
- According to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America, 50 percent of adults with anxiety also suffer from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
- Bipolar disorder may affect 34 percent of people with anxiety or an anxiety disorder, based on results published by the U.S. National Center for Biotechnology Information.
- Chronic pain may affect 43 percent of people with anxiety or an anxiety disorder, according to a report in General Hospital Psychiatry.
- Eating disorders, characterized by fasting or severely reduced caloric intake, intense exercise, or vomiting for weight loss, commonly happen with anxiety disorders.
- Fibromyalgia is a type of chronic pain and may affect 20 percent of people who suffer from anxiety or an anxiety disorder.
- Headaches and migraines affect a large portion of people with anxiety or anxiety disorders: About 20 percent with episodic migraines and 50 percent with chronic migraines.
- According to the U.S. National Institutes of Health, irritable bowel syndrome happens in about 44 percent of people with anxiety or an anxiety disorder.
- Various sleep disorders affect anywhere between 24 percent (insomnia) to 42 percent (hypersomnia) of people who also suffer from anxiety or an anxiety disorder.
- Stress (61 percent) and substance abuse (20 percent) also have anxiety disorders.
How Common Is Anxiety?
Anxiety is one of the most common medical problems facing U.S. adults. According to the National Alliance on Mental Health, more than 40 million adults (about 19 percent) of the population suffer from an anxiety disorder. The following numbers reflect how many people experience symptoms of various anxiety disorders.
- About 6.8 million adults (3.1% of the U.S. populace) have generalized anxiety disorder, but only about 40 percent get treatment. Women get it twice as often as men. It often happens with major depression.
- Six million adults, or 2.7% of the U.S. populace, have panic disorder. Women get it twice as often as men.
- Social anxiety disorder normally starts around age 13 and affects 15 million adults or 6.8 percent of the U.S. population. It happens equally in men and women and. A 2007 survey estimated that 36% of people suffering from social anxiety disorder cope with symptoms on their own for ten years or more before searching for help.
- Many U.S. adults (19 million or 8.7 percent of the U.S. population) have specific phobias, like arachnophobia or agoraphobia. Women are twice as likely as men to have specific phobias. Symptoms normally begin in childhood, around the age of 7 years old.
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) affects less than 2 percent of U.S. adults, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder affects about 3.5 percent of U.S. adults and often happens with depression.
Most symptoms from these disorders can be treated with psychotherapy or medicine like ketamine.
Diagnosis & Treatment
The first step is to see a healthcare provider to ensure your symptoms aren’t being triggered by a physical problem. This may be accomplished through a complete physical health examination. If there are no signs of a medical problem, you may be referred to a mental health professional for psychiatric assessment. The goal, in either case, is to find the best treatment for your symptoms. If anxiety is suspected, your symptoms will be compared to criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders before the final diagnosis.
Treatment may involve psychotherapy, self-help, alternative medicine, antidepressants, or ketamine infusion therapy.
Anxiety affects millions of people worldwide, including an estimated 40 million in the United States. If you have symptoms of anxiety or a more severe anxiety disorder, get help before your life spirals out of control. Contact us today to learn more about treatment options.