7 Ways of knowing that you have anxiety

Did you know doctors who study and treat fear experience fear? Actually, we all do. Most of the time, when you feel fear, it is not a federal case, and, in fact, it can be helpful at the right moment. Yet when your fear spirals out of control, the effect can be shocking.

According to Medical News Today, anxiety is actually a non-medical term. It refers to a feeling of fear or worry that often relates to a particular issue or concern[1]. It generally occurs when a person fears that something bad is going to happen. According to the Oxford dictionary, it is a feeling of worry and nervousness about something with an uncertain outcome[2].

Since the first case of the coronavirus was recorded[3]. that start of the Covid-19 pandemic, many people have had to experience a lot more anxiety than is usually the case. Do you know that there has been almost a 50% increase in word searches on topics that alone have the potential to increase anxiety? Words such as “recession”, “survival” and “conspiracy theories”

All this since the first case of the coronavirus was recorded[4]. It, therefore, seems that the coronavirus pandemic is, in turn, creating and fueling an “anxiety pandemic” in many ways. As a result of this increased anxiety, I decided to help you, the many people who may have questions about anxiety to recognize and cope with it.

Remember anxiety is not recognized as a mental disorder because anxiety is a very normal response to life events that are stressful. These stressful events include things like sitting on a public toilet, not shaking hands with people who have used those same hands as a tissue, or something really scary like having to talk to your spouse.

Most people experience anxiety at some point in their lives. In fact, before the Coronavirus pandemic, about 19% of all-American adults were already going to experience at least one anxiety disorder within a twelve-month period[5]. That translates over 66,000,00 people in the general population.

The problem with anxiety only comes about when symptoms of anxiety become worse or larger than the events that triggered them and start affecting your life. If that happens, the symptoms could be signs of an anxiety disorder and that is a real problem[6].

However, although anxiety is not recognized as a mental disorder, it is acknowledged as a characteristic of several common psychiatric disorders. The symptoms of anxiety include worry, distress, and fear, and it is usually related to the anticipation of a stressful situation, experience, or event[7].

It must be understood that anxiety is quite similar to panic. However, even though anxiety can be a symptom of panic, it is different from a panic attack[8].

So, what does anxiety feel like?

Here are some of the symptoms of anxiety you may experience:

  1. Worry and apprehension- This is a common symptom of anxiety. It varies in severity and can affect the ability to concentrate or accomplish daily tasks. If you experience worry and apprehension on most days over a period of six months, then consult a health professional because it could be a sign that you may have a generalized anxiety disorder[9].
  2. Feeling pressure and hurried.  People with anxiety usually tend to feel under pressure or that they are being rushed. If you experience this, it could mean that you have anxiety.
  3. Sadness- People with anxiety tend to experience sadness because of whatever is triggering their anxiety. Sadness is, therefore, a symptom to look out for when determining whether you have anxiety.
  4. Difficulty concentrating Difficulty concentrating especially in daily tasks is a symptom of anxiety that you need to look out for.
  5. Restlessness –This usually occurs in children and teenagers. However, it also occurs in adults as well. If you are restless, it is a symptom that you might be experiencing anxiety. Where you experience restlessness on several days over a six-month period, this may be a sign of generalized anxiety disorder and you would need to consult a doctor or health professional[10].
  6. Sleep problems –anxiety causes problems sleeping. A person with anxiety will usually have trouble falling asleep or will usually wake up in the middle of the night[11]. If this happens to you, then you might be experiencing anxiety.
  7. Irritability –Anxiety also causes irritability. So, if you are easily annoyed or irritated, there is a good chance that you are experiencing anxiety, especially if you have the other symptoms[12].

The physical symptoms of anxiety include:

  1. Changes in heart rate –This is a common physical symptom of anxiety. Anxiety causes a change in the heart rate from what is normal. Other physical symptoms of anxiety are.
  2. Nausea or diarrhea
  3. Dry mouth
  4. Tension in the head or neck
  5. Tightness in the throat and difficulty breathing.
  6. Headache
  7. Sweating
  8. Trembling or shaking
  9. Feeling faint

Of course, not every case of anxiety will include all these symptoms. This is because depending on the cause or trigger and how a person reacts to it, anxiety can be mild, moderate, or severe[13].

For instance, when faced with intense financial or work pressure, some people might feel mildly apprehensive, while others may experience all the above symptoms. The reaction is determined by the severity of the trigger and how the victim responds.

Most of the time, when the trigger, or perceived danger that caused the anxiety is no longer a threat, the symptoms of anxiety go away. But if the anxiety continues for a long time, such as over six months, it would be wise to seek professional help because that may be a sign of another disorder or a more serious condition.

It is also important to remember that anxiety shares similarities with a panic attack. It is, therefore, necessary to tell the difference between the two and how they feel to avoid mistaking one for the other[14]. The main differences between anxiety and a panic attack are:

Anxiety or an anxiety attack

  1. Anxiety attacks can have a specific trigger, such as an exam, workplace issues, a health issue, or a relationship problem.
  2. Secondly, anxiety is not a diagnosable condition.
  3. Anxiety or an anxiety attack is usually less severe than a panic attack.
  4. Anxiety usually develops gradually when a person feels anxious about something.
  5. Lastly, anxiety involves physical symptoms, such as a racing heart or “knot in your stomach “.

A panic attack on the other hand:

  1. Does not have a specific trigger. It can happen without anything triggering it.
  2. Can be a symptom of panic disorder, which is a diagnosable condition.
  3. Has severe symptoms.
  4. Can happen whether a person feels calm or anxious.
  5. Involves physical symptoms and feelings of terror so intense that the person fears a total loss of control or imminent death[15]. During the attack, the person actually believes that he or she is going to die.
  6. A panic attack often occurs suddenly and unexpectedly and lasts between a few minutes and an hour, although the negative impact may continue even afterward.

Keep in mind that unlike anxiety attacks, panic attacks are a symptom of panic disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual 5th edition. Therefore, only a licensed professional can diagnose panic disorder[16]. So, consult a health professional if you experience what appears to be a panic attack. It is good to do this earlier on before the condition becomes more serious.

As a final tip on anxiety, do not watch too much news during this coronavirus pandemic because the news usually adds to the anxiety. It will drive you crazy and cause you to be freaking out about everything, especially coughs and sneezes. Instead, use your time to do more creative and relaxing things. Do not worry too much, we will get through this.

[1] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/307863 (accessed 17/05/2020 at 00:31AM)

[2] https://www.lexico.com/definition/anxiety (accessed 17/05/2020 at 00:37AM)

[3] https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/03/coronavirus-perceptions-of-mortality-and-contagion-raise-economic-anxiety/

[4] https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/03/coronavirus-perceptions-of-mortality-and-contagion-raise-economic-anxiety/

[5] https://time.com/5808278/coronavirus-anxiety/ (accessed 17/05/2020 at 16:50PM)

[6] https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/anxiety-disorder-symptoms

[7] https://www.healthline.com/health/panic-attack-vs-anxiety-attack (accessed 17/05/2020 at 00:50AM)

[8] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/307863#anxiety_or_panic (accessed 17/05/2020 at 1235PM)

[9] https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/anxiety-disorder-symptoms#2.-Feeling-Agitated (accessed 18/05/2020 at 04:04AM)

[10] https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/anxiety-disorder-symptoms#3.-Restlessness accessed 18/05/2020 at 03:22)

[11] https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/anxiety-disorder-symptoms#8.-Trouble-Falling-or-Staying-Asleep (accessed 18/05/2020 at 03:3oAM)

[12] https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/anxiety-disorder-symptoms#6.-Irritability (accessed 18/05/2020 at 04:18AM)

[13] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/307863#symptoms (accessed 18/05/2020 at 03:13AM)

[14] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/307863#anxiety_or_panic (accessed 17/05/2020 at 12:41PM)

[15] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/307863#symptoms accessed 18/05/2020 at 05:38AM)

[16] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/307863#symptoms (accessed 18/05/2020 at 04:32AM)