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.
4. When you are using drugs and/or alcohol to self medicate. According to The National Institute on Drug Abuse “… compared with the general population, people addicted to drugs are roughly twice as likely to suffer from mood and anxiety disorders, with the reverse also true.” There are many people who are suffering from great anxiety who are using drugs or alcohol to self-treat their anxiety symptoms. But of course the problem is that in doing so they are developing a possibly life threatening addiction. If you are suffering from anxiety and addiction it is time to get some help.
5. When anxiety is causing you to miss out on life. If you are no longer able to enjoy everyday life or participate in day to day activities and pleasures then it is absolutely time that you got some help for your disorder. If you are finding that your anxiety has caused you to feel trapped, isolated, and fearful on a daily basis then it is time to take action. The bottom line is that you don’t need to be a prisoner to your anxiety. There is hope, support, and treatment.
How to get help for your anxiety:
• Anxiety Disorders Association of America has a Find a Therapist page. All you have to do is plug in information about your city and state.
• There are many support groups for anxiety disorders which meet in person and on-line.
• The National Alliance on Mental Illness or NAMI has many resources and also a number to call. Phone: 800.950.NAMI (800.950.6264)
• If you cannot afford therapy or mental health services I have written an article to help you. Please read my post, “How To Get Mental Health Services with No Money and No Insurance” as well as all the reader comments.
Remember that anxiety is treatable. We here on Anxiety Connection wish to help you by providing information, resources and support to anyone suffering from anxiety or their loved ones. Please don’t hesitate to ask a question, write a sharepost, or help another member by sharing your story. We are all in this together.
Published On: May 24, 2010