HOW DO I KNOW IF I HAVE ANXIETY?

DENISE L. LUCIA, PHD • 2018 • BLOG POST

HOW DO I KNOW IF I HAVE ANXIETY?

• COGNITIVE SYMPTOMS (YOUR THOUGHTS): Chronic worry, rumination of thoughts, difficulty with focus and concentration.
• EMOTIONAL SYMPTOMS: Feeling tense and on-edge, irritability, nervousness, and feeling fearful or scared.
• PHYSICAL SYMPTOMS: Fatigue, muscle tension, difficulty sleeping, increased heart rate, and difficulty breathing. May also include tightness/pressure in chest, teeth grinding at night, stomach upset, headaches, or elevated blood pressure.

WHAT CAUSES ANXIETY?

• DAILY STRESS OF LIFE: Based on your temperament, you may tend to manifest stress in the form of anxiety.
• TRAUMATIC EXPERIENCE: Events that are out of your control or unpredictable can elicit the fight-flight-freeze response, and your mind/body thinks it is still in danger and therefore reacts in anxious manner.
• GENETIC PREDISPOSITION: Your brain chemistry may play a role. Does parent, sibling, or grandparent experience similar symptoms?

WHEN IS IT TIME TO SEEK HELP AND START THERAPY?

• ANXIETY STARTS TO IMPACT YOUR DAILY FUNCTIONING: You start to notice decreased performance at work or school. Your relationship satisfaction with partner and/or friends, as well as overall life enjoyment, starts to decline. You have difficulty with focus and concentration and this disrupts completion of tasks. You experience impairment in memory.

HOW CAN THERAPY HELP WITH MY ANXIETY?

Talking to a professional is sometimes the next best step when you have been trying to combat anxiety on our own, and you are experiencing minimal to no relief. The recommended approach for treating anxiety is using a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy approach. Evidenced based interventions (grounded in research) learned in therapy may include:
• CHALLENGE UNHELPFUL THOUGHTS
• SET SPECIFIC BEHAVIORAL GOALS FOR EXERCISE AND NUTRITION
• RELAXATION
• BREATHING RETRAINING
• IMPROVE SLEEP BEHAVIORS
• INCREASE CONNECTION WITH OTHERS