To some, anxiety could be as fleeting as a few moments of panic and sweaty fingers just before a presentation or on the first day of a new job. To others, the effects of anxiety are more long-term.
Long-term signs of a generalized anxiety disorder include gastrointestinal illnesses, heart disease, insomnia, depression, headaches, and even migraines. Long-term anxiety can cause tragic consequences, sometimes even leading to the loss of lives.
Studies have confirmed that certain mental conditions are predictors of tragic events. A team of Los Angeles car accident lawyers at The Barnes Firm suggest that many car accidents involve people who are anxious or depressed. According to them, ‘human factors such as anxiety and depression play a major role in causing catastrophic events daily.” As a result, it is important to identify and treat symptoms of anxiety before they lead to unfavorable outcomes.
Here are sure ways to know whether you are suffering from a generalized anxiety disorder.
1. You Often Feel Anxious About Everything
It’s normal to feel anxious about certain events in a person’s life; however, people who suffer from an anxiety disorder experience feelings of anxiety about several things in their life. When one issue is resolved, they go on to feel anxious about the next, having almost no periods where they’re not anxious about one thing or the other.
According to the NHS UK, this type of anxiety is also often a symptom of one of the following:
- Social anxiety disorder: This type of anxiety is also called social phobia, and people who suffer it experience feelings of intense anxiousness just thinking of normal everyday interruptions. They may also be extremely self-conscious and afraid of embarrassing situations. They also often cannot handle being brought under the judgment or scrutiny of others.
Social anxiety disorder can sometimes get so intense that sufferers begin to avoid the outside world, disrupting their social lives and their ability to study or earn a living. There are certain coping skills available in psychotherapy for people who suffer from severe social anxiety. There are also medications that could help improve patients’ self-confidence and their ability to go about their daily lives.
- Other Phobias, e.g., Agoraphobia and Claustrophobia: A phobia is more than just normal feelings of fear. Phobias are debilitating and unrealistic fears of certain situations, objects, places, etc. Severe phobias could cause a person to avoid their day-to-day life.
Phobias could be simple. For instance, animal phobias and sexual and environmental phobias. They could also be complex, e.g., social phobia and agoraphobia. Phobias could cause stomach aches, trembling, nausea, dizziness, shortness of breath, etc., in patients.
- Panic disorder: People who suffer from panic disorder regularly experience feelings of panic. This includes panic attacks, anxiety attacks, dizziness, and fainting.
2. Long-term Anxiety Causes Chronic Illnesses
Anxiety is known to cause chronic illnesses. Interestingly, chronic illnesses have also been known to cause long-term anxiety. Chronic illnesses refer to negative health conditions that are persistent and long-lasting.
Having to deal with diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and heart illnesses on a long-term basis could make one develop long-term anxiety. These diseases often bring along feelings of fear and pessimism due to the fact that patients are often confronted with concerns about the future.
3. Anxiety Leads to Depression
Everyone occasionally experiences short-lived periods of sadness; however, if you notice you’ve been sad for more than a couple of weeks, you may be suffering from long-term anxiety. You’d know you’re depressed when you no longer enjoy activities that were once fun for you. When depressed, you’ll also have a hard time carrying on with daily life or bonding with friends, family members, and colleagues.
Depression can also present with physical symptoms such as feelings of hopelessness, emptiness, pessimism, fatigue, change of appetite, difficulty concentrating, etc.
When To Go to The Doctor for Your Anxiety
Since everyone feels some level of anxiety at some point in their daily lives, it’s usually difficult for people who suffer from anxiety disorder to know when it’s time to seek medical help. However, it’s important to note that there are a few other conditions that could heighten one’s anxiety, for instance, going through withdrawals.
You’ll know it’s time to see medical help for anxiety if:
- You find yourself worrying about everything in your daily life to a level where you’re constantly stressed and upset.
- You expect the worst possible outcomes for every situation.
- You’ve been in an anxious state almost every day in the last six months
Anxiety can be as subtle as a fleeting thought, or it can be a severely paralyzing disease that cripples one’s life. The effects of anxiety disorder could sometimes be tragic so if you’ve experienced persistent anxiety for at least six months, visit your doctor.