According to The National Institute of Mental Health “Approximately 40 million American adults ages 18 and older, or about 18.1 percent of people in this age group in a given year, have an anxiety disorder.” That is a lot of people! But the thing is not everyone is seeking help to treat their anxiety. The Anxiety Disorders Association of America cites a statistic that only one third of people who have anxiety disorders are getting adequate treatment for their anxiety. There may be many reasons why people may not seek help including being afraid of what family, friends or co-workers may think. Some anxiety sufferers may be in denial of how detrimental their anxiety has become. And still others may not understand that there is help and treatment out there for their anxiety related issues.
As part of Mental Health Awareness Month we are going to highlight some warning signs of anxiety which indicate that you might want to consider seeking treatment for your anxiety. Remember that there is no shame in having an anxiety disorder. There are many people who are battling their anxiety on a day to day basis. And we can remove some of the stigma of mental illness by talking about our anxiety disorder openly.
Here are five warning signs of anxiety that you should not ignore:
1. When your anxiety is affecting your physical health. Anxiety disorders can not only affect your mental health but they can also adversely affect your physical health. Anxiety Disorders are associated with: Migraines, asthma, and heart disease to name a few. Some of the physical symptoms of anxiety may include: Dizziness, stomachaches, shortness of breath, chest pains, and diarrhea. There is no doubt that stress and anxiety can beat up your body. And if you have an already existing illness or medical condition, anxiety disorders can exacerbate your symptoms so that you remain unwell. If your anxiety is causing you to become physically ill it is definitely time to seek treatment.
2. When your anxiety is affecting your work. Dealing with any type of anxiety disorder while at work can be a tremendous pressure. If you are finding that you are missing a lot of days from work, frequently calling in late, or having trouble performing the normal tasks of your job, it may be time to get some help. The last thing you want to do is to lose your job over anxiety related issues. It is critical that you make an attempt to do something about your anxiety before it adversely affects your job or future career opportunities.
3. When your anxiety is affecting your relationships. One way to know that your anxiety is out of control is when friends, family members and loved ones begin to worry about you. There are many ways in which anxiety can adversely affect a relationship as Eileen Bailey points out in her article, “Anxiety in Relationships.” Some of these negative effects can include: Constant worry manifesting as jealousy with your romantic partner, avoiding friends and family at social events, and communication problems. The good thing to know is that once treatment for anxiety is underway these relationship issues do improve as well.