What is Anxiety?
Anxiety can mean nervousness, worry, or self-doubt. Sometimes, the cause of anxiety is easy to spot, while other times it may not be. Everyone feels some level of anxiety once in a while. But overwhelming, recurring, or “out of nowhere” dread can deeply impact people. When anxiety interferes like this, talking to a therapist can help.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF ANXIETY
Diagnosing anxiety depends on a person’s feelings of worry, so symptoms will vary. Personality, co-occurring mental health conditions, and other factors may explain a person's symptoms.
Anxiety can cause intrusive or obsessive thoughts. A person with anxiety may feel confused or find it hard to concentrate. Feeling restless or frustrated can also be a sign of anxiety. Other people with anxiety may feel depressed.
Symptoms of anxiety can also be physical. Anxiety can cause overly tense muscles, or high blood pressure. Trembling, sweating, a racing heartbeat, dizziness, and insomnia can also come from anxiety. Anxiety may even cause headaches, digestive problems, difficulty breathing, and nausea.
If physical symptoms of anxiety are severe and sudden, it may be a panic attack.
WHAT DOES ANXIETY LOOK LIKE?
People can show signs of anxiety in many ways. Some may become more talkative, while others withdraw or self-isolate. Even people who seem outgoing, friendly, or fearless can have anxiety. Since anxiety has many symptoms, how it looks for one person is not how it appears for another.
People who have anxiety may be withdrawn, but this is not the case for everyone with anxiety. Sometimes, anxiety may trigger a “fight” rather than “flight” response, in which case a person might appear confrontational. Stumbling over words, trembling, and nervous tics are often associated with anxiety. While they can appear in people with anxiety, they are not always present, and some people who do not have anxiety also show these signs.
- Frequent fatigue
- Difficulty focusing
- Sleep problems
- Muscle tension
WHAT CAUSES ANXIETY?
Anxiety, like the fight, flight, or freeze response, is for survival. It allows people to protect themselves to avoid harm. Sometimes, a person has high levels of anxiety regularly. They may feel helpless in dealing with their symptoms.
Both biology and environment determine if a person will have anxiety. In other words, anxious behavior can be inherited, learned, or both. For example, research shows that anxious parents are likely to have anxious children. However, parents may also model anxious behavior. If so, they might instill that same behavior in their children. Having a stressful upbringing can also increase a person's chances of having anxiety. This is because anxiety becomes a way to anticipate danger and stay safe.
Anxiety can also develop due to unresolved trauma. Unresolved trauma may leave a person in a heightened state of physiological arousal. When this is the case, certain experiences can reactivate the old trauma. This is common for people with posttraumatic stress (PTSD).
Is It DEPRESSION?
What does Depression look like?
Depression commonly manifests physically, through stomach pains, headaches, disrupted or excessive sleep, and motor control difficulty. While the causes of depression are unknown, a predisposition for it runs in families and it can be triggered by trauma and adverse life circumstances. Depression is diagnosed more frequently in women and tends to display differently in women than in men.
People tend to suffer higher rates of depression after giving birth and in late fall. Depression and anxiety often exacerbate each other and people with depression commonly have difficulty concentrating on tasks and conversations. Some people abuse alcohol and drugs or overeat as a way of coping, causing them to develop other medical problems. Depressed people are also at increased risk for self-harm.
Symptoms of Depression
Depression is a mental illness which is characterized by prolonged emotional symptoms including:
Diagnosing depression involves a psychiatric evaluation and physical tests to determine whether a person’s symptoms are actually being caused by a different disorder. A person must have been experiencing symptoms for at least two weeks to be diagnosed with depression. Every case is unique and requires individual attention, but there are a number of effective complementary ways of treating depression, including.