It’s normal for many of us to experience stress and worry when thinking about every day issues such as finances, family problems, and work concerns. Worry can even be helpful if you know how to use it to your advantage. This is because when you worry about a certain aspect of your life, you are seeking more information to understand the situation better, and you subconsciously engage in productive problem solving.
However, when worry becomes more confronting and starts to take over your life and negatively effect the decisions you make, then you may have crossed into a generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).
People with GAD experience worry and often feel nervous about a variety of things – even when there’s little basis for stress and worry. In addition, people with GAD have difficulty concentrating on routine tasks because their minds are almost always occupied with worries that they cannot control. Anxiety, when not treated appropriately can lead to anxiety attack, which is characterized with symptoms similar to a panic attack.
Anxiety disorder is one of the most common mental illnesses amongst adults in the United States, with women being at a higher risk for developing the condition than men. However, only a small fraction seek treatment for this mental health concern.
People with anxiety have different reasons for avoiding treatment, but the most common barrier to seeking help is denial. With that being said, denial is not considered to be the sole reason for people avoiding treatment, as other factors may contribute to a person’s unwillingness to go through treatment. We list some of the possible reasons below:
- Embarrassment about having a mental disorder
- Problems identifying when the symptoms cross the normal threshold of worry and stress
- A perception that no one can help you
Despite your reasons for avoiding treatments, the fact remains that anxiety can become detrimental to your overall well-being if left untreated. In the pointers below, we highlight some of the warning signs that will let you know it’s time to seek professional help:
When it starts to affect your physical health
Anxiety can have detrimental effect on one’s physical health when it is left untreated. The condition may cause a number of physical health concerns including:
- Chest pains
- Shortness of breath
- Stomach aches
- Cold or hot flushes
- Excessive sweating
- Numbness or tingling
- Upset stomach
- Tightness in the chest or throat
- Panic attacks characterized by sudden onset of fear
If you have an existing medical condition, an anxiety disorder can worsen your symptoms and cause you to remain physically ill. If you find that your anxiety is causing these symptoms, it’s time to seek professional help.
When your anxiety is affecting your ability to perform regular tasks
Most of us feel some level of anxiety at work. With all the deadlines that have to be met, and meetings in which disagreements can erupt between team members, the workplace can be an anxiety-filled environment.
You may think that anxiety is a normal part of the job, but the reality is that it can become more serious and lead to an anxiety disorder that can affect not only your working life, but your personal life as well. When you begin to notice severe bouts of anxiety at the workplace that lead you to miss time from work, begin dreading going to work, and have difficulty in performing essential work functions, then it’s time to seek help.
When your anxiety is affecting your relationships
There are several ways in which anxiety can negatively impact different aspects of your life, including your relationships. Being too dependent on friends and family members, or being overly detached are signs of anxiety. You may notice that you are becoming paranoid about existing relationships, or that you are avoiding close relationships because you mistrust other people’s intentions. These relationship issues can improve once you seek treatment for your anxiety.
Seeking help for your anxiety is a positive step forward in caring for yourself and your mental health. You should never feel ashamed for experiencing anxiety because it’s a normal part of our lives – it’s when it begins to take over and impact on your life in a negative way that you should address it. Whether that’s by changing certain aspects of your life to reduce the amount of anxiety you experience or seeing a mental health professional or therapist – it’s up to you to decide what you are most comfortable with and what you think will have the most impact in reducing your anxiety.