When Anxiety Goes Beyond Normal

Do you worry too much? (photo from http://www.heartsandminds.org/self/anxiety.htm)

Anxiety is an  uneasy feeling over  something/someone that may harm you or a loved one, embarrassment or self-consciousness in the face of an uncomfortable social situation, or fear of a threatening object, place, or situation. It is but a normal human experience. Occasional feelings of anxiety are normal; everyone will deal with anxiety at one point or another. It is, in fact, a beneficial response to certain dangerous situations and triggers the fight-or-flight stress response in us.

The anxiety a student feels about an upcoming test can cause him/her to work harder to prepare for the exam. When one feels threatened when walking through a dark and deserted parking lot, wouldn’t that make him more alert and cautious of the surroundings?When you afraid of getting embarrassed in a crowd, wouldn’t that drive that person to do the best that he/she can?

When we’re anxious,  your body reacts to stress.  Nearly all the cells, tissues and organs in our body go into overdrive, which can cause several different physical reactions like:

  • perspiration
  • trembling
  • tightness in the chest or palpitations
  • churning stomach, mild stomach discomfort, nausea and/or diarrhea
  • headache
  • backache
  • numbness or “pins and needles” in arms, hands or legs
  • sweating/flushing
  • irritability
  • muscle tension
  • trouble falling or staying asleep
  • restlessness or the inability to sit or stand still for long

Anxiety is normal and even beneficial, but it can  become a problem for many people. Anxiety can linger and it can affect our health.  It would be important to know the difference between what’s normal and what’s not. The main difference between normal anxiety and problem anxiety is in the source and the intensity of the experience.

Do you worry  a lot ? (photo from http://www.heartsandminds.org/self/anxiety.htm)

It may be anxiety disorder you’re dealing with  if:

  • You worry about so many things. You have intense fears triggered by things that pose little  or no real danger such as dogs, spiders, water   and  other ordinary object or events in one’s daily life. When people experience normal anxiety, they tend to worry about things that make them fearful but people who have anxiety disoder are inclined to worrying about everything all the time. If that describes you, it may be more than normal anxiety.
  • You worry excessively. Your fear and worries cause so much distress that they interfere with your daily life. The anxiety most people feel is proportionate to the intensity of the situation. For example, if there was a very minor anxiety-provoking situation, then the experience of anxiety is typically minor as well. People with anxiety disorder tend to become more anxious than the situation appears to warrant. If you are someone who has more severe anxiety over things that shouldn’t be a big deal, it may be more than normal anxiety.
  • You have regular flashback of stressful events, nightmares or you’re losing sleep sleep over stuff that may seem trivial to most people.
  • You easily feel threatened even  at the slightest provocation.
  • You have feelings of hopelessness or depression even at the slightest
  • You have persistent upsetting thoughts and compulsion.
  • You worry things that are unlikely to happen.

Long-term anxiety can ultimately damage your body over time. If your anxiety is causing adverse physical reactions, you should seek the help of a health care professional

 

Web References:

http://panicdisorder.about.com/od/understandingpanic/a/normprobanxiety.htm

http://gad.about.com/od/symptoms/a/top5fromnormal.htm

http://cmhc.utexas.edu/anxiety.html

www.welcoa.org