Anxiety impacts 40 million American adults annually, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA). That’s over 18 percent of the adult population in the U.S. As the most common mental illness, anxiety is nothing to be embarrassed about. However, many people are embarrassed when they experience anxiety and don’t take advantage of the treatments that may help.
Even though dealing with anxiety (and its related issues) is challenging, mental health professionals have ways to treat the symptoms and help you to overcome the feelings of fear and panic associated with this disorder.
Do you have anxiety? Or are you not entirely sure? Keep in mind, not all anxiety symptoms are as simple as feeling fear or worrying. Some of the condition’s symptoms are confusing and can feel like other issues, such as medical problems or other mental health disorders. Understanding some of the more confusing symptoms of anxiety is the first step to overcoming this disorder.
Not every person who has anxiety has panic attacks, however, panic attacks are common. Often, panic attacks can look and feel like potentially serious medical conditions.
The primary difference between a panic attack and a medical condition, such as a heart attack, is that the symptoms of a panic attack will subside on their own. Symptoms of panic attacks can include a racing heart, palpitations, sweating, shaking, chest pain or discomfort, dizziness, nausea, or shortness of breath.
Because all of these symptoms are also signs of major medical issues that require immediate professional medical attention, many adults who experience panic attacks think they’re having a heart attack. These symptoms can last anywhere from a few minutes to several hours, which is why getting professional attention is important.
Never dismiss any of these symptoms or wait for them to go away on their own. Call a medical or healthcare professional right away or go to the emergency room for an expert evaluation. If the cause is anxiety, then the doctor or another medical staff member can help you get the appropriate mental health assistance.
If you constantly feel nauseous or if you have a consistently upset stomach for no logical reason, then you may have anxiety.
Stomach troubles aren’t something that everyone with anxiety experiences. However, this symptom is a common complaint. The key to understanding what’s going on with your digestive system is having a medical professional rule out other health-related causes.
Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, is a medical condition that causes serious abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, gas, or cramps. Some people with anxiety experience the same symptoms that IBS is known for.
Along with IBS-like symptoms, some people with anxiety may experience less severe stomach issues. This can range from a seemingly small stomachache during heightened stress to bouts of diarrhea. Again, a medical professional can assess your symptoms and help you to understand where they’re coming from.
Phobias and Fears
Some, but not all, people with anxiety disorders develop irrational fears. Phobias are reactions to specific objects, incidents, actions, or situations. While some of these triggers produce completely understandable anxieties, such as tall heights or large, hairy spiders, a phobia is a disproportionality irrational reaction.
There are a seemingly endless number of phobias. These include fears of everything from animals or people to situations, such as driving through a tunnel or crossing a bridge. Some phobias are immediate, while others are a result of repeated exposure.
Even though it’s normal to have some fears, a phobia goes above and beyond feeling anxious occasionally or feeling anxious when you’re in a specific situation. People with phobias tend to do anything they can to avoid their triggers.
Mental health professionals can help people with phobias to overcome their fears. Specific treatments depend on the phobia, the individual, and the expert’s assessment.
Are you or a loved one experiencing anxiety? Contact Life Adjustment Team for more information on this condition and your treatment options.