Life comes with its ups and downs. Unfortunately, some of those “downs” can include moments of stress, worry and uncertainty. This is normal and as some point in our lives all of us will experience this. But how can you tell when these worries grow into something more? How can you tell when you’re experiencing anxiety? Here are some warning signs to look out for.
It Lasts a Long Time
While stresses or worries might keep us up at night once in a while, anxiety is long-lasting. Some mental health professionals use a guideline of six months. In other words, if the excessive worry, fear or stress lasts for six months then it could be a symptom of anxiety. However, if you experience some of the other following signs and symptoms it doesn’t hurt to speak to a mental health professional sooner.
It Becomes Debilitating
While it’s normal to experience stresses and worries in our daily lives, if your worries and concerns stop you from being able to live your life and participate in normal activities, then that’s a sign you could be experiencing anxiety. Individuals living with severe anxiety might stop participating in certain activities, working productively or sleeping well, for example.
You Start to Feel Physical Symptoms
Anxiety can have physical symptoms, not just mental or emotional ones. If you start to notice your worry or stress manifesting itself physically, then this could be a sign that it’s something more. Common physical symptoms of anxiety include muscle tension, headaches, stomach aches, difficulty sleeping, increased heart rate and raised bodily temperature. While ordinary stress can cause physical symptoms, too, it doesn’t tend to be as severe.
Your Worries are Irrational
Individuals living with anxiety will typically find that many of their worries or concerns aren’t necessarily grounded in reality. This doesn’t mean they don’t feel real or aren’t significant. It simply means that if realized, they wouldn’t actually pose a serious threat, or wouldn’t usually cause a healthy person to feel as stressed. If the worst-case consequences of your worries and fears wouldn’t cause serious problems, you may be suffering from anxiety.
If you think you may be experiencing anxiety, you’re not alone. Every year, at least 40 million people in the United States experience anxiety. These signs may indicate that you’re experiencing anxiety, but they aren’t a conclusive diagnosis. Consult a qualified mental health professional to learn more and discover the best path for your recovery.
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