These are the signs that you might have anxiety
30 October 2018, 12:36 | Updated: 19 November 2018, 16:09
Everyone has feelings of anxiety at some point in their life.
We might feel anxious about starting a new job, speaking to our crush or sitting an exam. That's perfectly normal. But for some, the feeling of being worried can be uncontrollable and relentless. Sometimes, it can even effect your daily life.
People who have an anxiety disorder can feel anxious for days on end about a number of issues, rather than one specific event. Never being able to relax can be exhausting and crippling because once you're over one anxious thought, another one rears it's ugly head.
Here are some signs that you might have anxiety and what to do if you think you have.
Restlessness, irritability and constantly feeling constantly on edge
Excessive worrying is one of the most common symptoms of an anxiety disorder. Now we all have our worries, but for it to be categorised as anxiety disorder the worry has to last for days or even months on end. The worrying associated with anxiety disorders is often severe and usually occurs in response to everyday things. This often leads to feelings of restlessness, irritability and being on edge.
Panic attacks are often associated with anxiety and can be incredibly debilitating. A panic attack is the onset of extreme fear or discomfort that can last for minutes. This can be terrifying for the sufferer and is typically accompanied by an irregular heartbeat, ringing in the ears, shortness of breath, chest tightness, nausea, sweating and shaking.
Some studies show that anxiety can disrupt your working memory, which is a type of memory responsible for keeping hold of short-term information. This may result in a dramatic decrease in performance during periods of high anxiety.
However, difficulty concentrating can also be linked to other medical conditions, like attention deficit disorder (ADD) or depression.
Change in sex drive
Everyone's sex drive is different but if you find your desire for sex has plummeted, it could be anxiety. Sex is probably the last thing on your mind when you're dealing with all the stress and exhaustion. As a result, you can experience a decreased libido.
Increased anxiety levels can create a "churning" sensation in the stomach, which can lead to nausea and vomiting. The feeling can change in intensity and come in waves, or be constant. It can also often leave the stomach feeling bloated and sore.
Change in bowel movements
Some probably wouldn't think their toilet habits can be related to anxiety but it certainly can impact them. Diarrhoea can occur when you're feeling particularly nervous, anxious or fearful. It can even creep up on you out of the blue and for no apparent reason.
Your body is forced into fight or flight mode when under intense pressure and part of the emergency response changes include the urgency to poo so that you don’t have to when fighting or running for the hills. No matter what you do, your stool could be loose, watery and runny. You may also find yourself heading to the toilet more frequently.
You probably would think anxiety is all in the mind, but it can have an effect on your body too. Persistent muscle tension is a symptom of anxiety. It can make you incredibly stiff and even bed-ridden, or it can show itself in spasms and twitching.
During times of high anxiety the tension could also be in the form of body soreness or a headache, which may require painkillers.
Extreme fears could be a sign of a phobia, which is a severe anxiety or fear about a specific object or situation. The most common phobias include claustrophobia (fear of enclosed spaces), mysophobia (fear of germs) and agoraphobia (fear of open or crowded spaces). However, there are some more unique phobias including ombrophobia (fear of rain) and omphalophobia (fear of belly buttons).
The feeling is intense enough that it interrupts your ability to go about your everyday life.
Problems getting to sleep and staying asleep are often associated with anxiety. The two conditions are strongly linked, but it's unclear if insomnia contributes to anxiety, or vice versa. It has been found that when anxiety disorder is treated, insomnia often improves as well.
Don't suffer in silence.
There are a wealth of things to do that can reduce your anxious feelings. Exercising, meditating, sticking to a healthy diet, not smoking and cutting down of caffeinated drinks are proven to help reduce anxiety levels.
You can also explore professional help and get psychological therapies like cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and medication.
If you think you have anxiety, you can call 03444 775 774 for confidential advice and support or visit www.anxietyuk.org.uk.