Anxiety is a common experience. It’s normal to feel anxious and worried about a great many things, including finances, relationships, career paths, and life changes. Modern times add additional challenges, including the pandemic, climate change, social unrest, inflation, and more. There is a lot for any person to be anxious about.
However, there is a point where anxiety moves from being normal to exhibiting itself as part of a mental health disorder. At this point, professional support and treatment for anxiety are warranted. How do you know when to get treatment?
Is it an Anxiety Disorder?
Professional treatment like talk therapy could be beneficial even for normal anxiety. Mental health experts can provide guidance and tips that help you deal with your feelings and situations that trigger anxiety. Nonetheless, the point at which professional treatment is truly necessary is when you have an official diagnosis of an anxiety disorder, a form of mental health disorder.
Almost 30 percent of adults have an anxiety disorder at some point in their lives, with these being within the most common category of mental health disorder, explains the American Psychiatric Association.
There are numerous mental health disorders that fall within this category. The main five anxiety disorders, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) are:
- Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD): Symptoms of ongoing anxiety and too much worry, including without much real reason behind the feelings
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): Symptoms in response to traumatic events
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD): Symptoms of obsessions and/or compulsions, often with the compulsions having the goal of stopping the obsessions or feelings of anxiety
- Social anxiety disorder, or social phobias: Strong anxiety in relation to social situations, which ranges from specific situations to any kind of social interaction
- Panic disorder: Episodes that include severe fear and difficult physical symptoms, such as heart palpitations or chest pain
Nonetheless, there are additional anxiety disorders or related conditions that include:
- A phobia to a specific stimulus
- Separation anxiety disorder
- Acute stress disorder
It’s possible to have one or more of these disorders, which creates the need for treatment. Many of these anxiety disorders are related to specific types of scenarios and symptoms.
When we’re referring to a state of general anxiety that is beyond the normal level, we’re likely talking about generalized anxiety disorder, or GAD. This is when you are continually in a heightened state of intense feelings like fear or nervousness. Likely, there is not a specific stimulus causing the feeling, which makes it especially difficult to address on your own. Professionals can help you deal with these symptoms and live a healthier, happier life.
When Does Anxiety Become a Disorder?
As mentioned, anxiety is a normal human response. It makes sense when you are put in a situation that warrants a reaction of nervousness or fear. Anxiety can also serve the function of helping you be aware of dangerous situations, as well as guiding you to prepare for certain scenarios.
The human body is made this way. When you encounter something stressful, it’s normal for the body to release stress hormones, including cortisol, adrenaline, and noradrenaline. These surges are designed to help you deal with the situation, such as helping you run away faster than normal. They create temporary physical changes in the body, such as constricting blood vessels and creating faster heart and respiratory rates.
While these responses help during quick bursts of time when you really need them, such as in a survival situation, they are no longer helpful when they happen too much. You can end up in a chronically anxious state or having too many episodes of anxiety, with the resulting physical, mental and emotional reactions. States of ongoing anxiety impact your life and health in negative ways. This is when it’s likely that professional support is warranted.
How Do I Know for Sure If I Need Help?
There are certain signs and symptoms of anxiety disorders in general that show the need for professional support. You may notice signs like these:
- The anxiety interferes with your ability to carry out your daily life and with your normal activities.
- It causes struggles within your relationships and may cause you to isolate yourself.
- You have trouble sleeping consistently due to anxiety.
- The thoughts impact your concentration.
- The anxiety leads to feelings or thoughts of worthlessness, self-loathing, and/or suicidal thoughts.
- You experience physical symptoms along with mental and emotional ones.
These signs and symptoms can indicate that you’re struggling with feelings of anxiety.
Nonetheless, you will only know for certain if you have an anxiety disorder or co-occurring disorders if you have a professional provide you with a diagnosis. The professional carries out an assessment to see if you meet certain criteria for a diagnosis. They can determine whether an anxiety disorder is a generalized anxiety disorder or one of the other forms.
During the process, they can assess you for more than one disorder, whether you may have multiple anxiety disorders or a combination of an anxiety disorder with another type of common co-occurring disorder, such as depression or substance use disorder. Then, they are able to provide the best treatment to address everything that is going on in your situation.
Treatment for Anxiety
Professional support can help you get the symptoms of an anxiety disorder under control to live a better life. Fortunately, treatment is available that can help with any kind of anxiety disorder. We provide convenient treatment options for anxiety disorders through BestMind Behavioral Health. We have professionals who provide telemedicine, which includes convenient evaluations and medication prescriptions, if applicable. We also provide medication management to treat anxiety symptoms, with the goal of improving your life.
Reach out about your anxiety symptoms and receive a professional evaluation. Our mental health professionals can determine whether treatment would benefit your situation and help you live better.