Do I have an Anxiety Disorder?
Our emotions can often feel so very intense that the question “Do I have an anxiety disorder?” comes up frequently in a counseling office. Anxiety is a very normal emotional experience. It becomes something of a concern when it becomes unmanagable or reoccuring. Those with anxiety disorders frequently have intense, excessive and persistent worry and fear about everyday situations. Often, anxiety disorders involve repeated episodes of sudden feelings of intense anxiety and fear or terror that reach a peak within minutes and can even last for several hours.
What are the symptoms of an Anxiety Disorder?
You could be struggling with an anxiety disorder if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms frequently:
- Feeling nervous, restless, or tense
- Having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom
- Having an increased heart rate
- Breathing rapidly (hyperventilation)
- Feeling weak or tired
- Trouble concentrating or thinking about anything other than the present worry
- Having trouble sleeping
- Experiencing gastrointestinal (GI) problems
- Having difficulty controlling worry
- Having the urge to avoid things that trigger anxiety
What forms of anxiety could I be struggling with?
- Agoraphobia(ag-uh-ruh-FOE-be-uh) is a type of anxiety disorder in which you fear and often avoid places or situations that might cause you to panic and make you feel trapped, helpless or embarrassed.
- Anxiety disorder due to a medical condition includes symptoms of intense anxiety or panic that are directly caused by a physical health problem.
- Generalized anxiety disorder includes persistent and excessive anxiety and worry about activities or events — even ordinary, routine issues. The worry is out of proportion to the actual circumstance, is difficult to control and affects how you feel physically.
- Panic disorder involves repeated episodes of sudden feelings of intense anxiety, fear, or terror. These feelings then reach a peak within minutes (panic attacks). You may have feelings of impending doom, shortness of breath, chest pain, or a rapid, fluttering or pounding heart (heart palpitations). Following an episode, some individuals may worry about them happening again. or avoiding situations in which they’ve occurred.
- Selective mutism is a consistent failure of children to speak in certain situations, such as school, even when they can speak in other situations, such as at home with close family members. This can interfere with school, work and social functioning.
- Separation anxiety disorder is a childhood disorder characterized by anxiety that’s excessive for the child’s developmental level and related to separation from parents or others who have parental roles.
- Social anxiety disorder (social phobia) involves high levels of anxiety, fear and avoidance of social situations due to feelings of embarrassment, self-consciousness and concern about being judged or viewed negatively by others.
- Specific phobias are characterized by major anxiety when you’re exposed to a specific object or situation and a desire to avoid it. Phobias provoke panic attacks in some people.
- Substance-induced anxiety disorder is characterized by symptoms of intense anxiety or panic that are a direct result of misusing drugs, taking medications, being exposed to a toxic substance or withdrawal from drugs.
- Other specified anxiety disorder and unspecified anxiety disorderare terms for anxiety or phobias that don’t meet the exact criteria for any other anxiety disorders but are significant enough to be distressing and disruptive.
How is an Anxiety Disorder Treated in Counseling?
The best course of treatment for most anxiety disorders is counseling incorporating Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, a form of treatment all Miracles Counseling Centers Providers are trained in. Additional conjunctive therapy approaches include mindfulness practices, meditation, and nutritional counseling. Often anxiety disorders can compound and worsen in severity if they are not treated early on. Please speak with one of our therapists to assess your personal situation and explore if therapy is right for you.