Normal Worry vs. Anxiety Disorder

Are you a normal worrier or do you suffer from anxiety disorder? We live in a high-pressure society, so it’s impossible not to feel anxious at some point during your life. However, occasional worry or feeling temporarily anxious isn’t the same as dealing with clinical anxiety.

1. Some worry is normal

Sometimes worrying is useful, like when you need to remember to pay a mortgage or attend an important appointment. So how can you tell if you worry a normal amount or if you’re suffering from anxiety? A study from Johns Hopkins says that it depends on how much time you spend worrying or obsessing over things. General worriers spend an average of 55 minutes worrying, while people with generalized anxiety disorder {GAD} will spend over 300 minutes a day worrying.

2. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the nation

Forty million Americans over the age of 18 are affected by anxiety, which is approximately 18 percent of the nation’s population. Out of that percentage, seven million people suffer from GAD, 15 million from social anxiety, 1.48 million from major depressive disorder and 7.7 million from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).

3. There are various anxiety disorders

If you’re suffering from anxiety, it’s important to know that there various types of anxiety disorders. These include:

  • General anxiety disorder (GAD)
  • Panic disorder
  • Social anxiety disorder
  • Major depressive disorder
  • Phobic disorders
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Separation anxiety disorder

4. Women more at risk

The likelihood of women and girls developing some kind of anxiety disorder is sometimes three times as likely compared with men. Differences in sex hormones are a possible factor of this gender gap, as estrogen interferes with serotonin, the neurotransmitter involved in mood regulation, sleep and appetite. Women and girls are also more likely to become victims of abuse, which is a known risk factor for PTSD.

5. Anxiety is usually accompanied by another disorder

GAD is usually accompanied with depression or substance abuse. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, half of the people diagnosed with depression are also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. Individuals who have an anxiety disorder are six times as likely to be hospitalized for psychiatric disorders. In addition, an anxiety disorder is often present in cases of eating disorders and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

6. Anxiety can cause physical illness

Anxiety often comes with physical discomfort like an upset stomach or a headache, but studies suggest that people who suffer from anxiety are more at risk for chronic health conditions. A distressed mind-body connection can lead to heart disease, gastrointestinal problems and respiratory conditions. Anxiety is also a contributor to substance abuse because many turn alcohol or drugs to deal with anxious feelings.

7. Anxiety can be treated and handled

For those suffering with anxiety, there is help. Many treatment options exist and proven to be extremely effective in treating anxiety disorders. These treatments include:

  • Talk therapy
  • Coping strategies
  • Medication
  • Alternative therapies like yoga, meditation and acupuncture

One of a combination of these treatments can help with anxiety, though unfortunately up to 30 percent of people with anxiety never seek treatment. If you want to live a healthier, happier life that is free of excessive fear and worry, don’t be afraid to seek help from a licensed mental health professional at Corner Canyon Counseling.

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