Anxiety is part of the human “fight or flight” response that ensures our survival, but chronic anxiety can interfere with one’s ability to live a productive and happy life. Many people who live with chronic anxiety turn to drugs and alcohol to feel more at ease with what life brings their way. Once a person with anxiety experiences a new level of calm and focus, drugs and alcohol become a tool, and addiction soon follows.
What is Anxiety?
In the most basic terms, anxiety is a feeling or concern or worry. We often feel this emotion when we find ourselves in strange or unusual circumstances. The sensation may subside once we become comfortable or remove ourselves from the environment. People with chronic anxiety feel uneasy in every situation, even when they are alone. They may dwell on memories or concerns about the future. A person who suffers from anxiety feel paralyzed in every moment and every area of life.
What are the Signs of Anxiety?
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is a condition in which feelings of worry and concern affect a person’s ability to function. People with GAD are programmed to find problems rather than addressing problems as they arise. Signs of anxiety are:
- Chronic exhaustion and fatigue
- Exaggerating circumstances (“Chicken Little” behavior)
- Chronic migraines and headaches
- Being hyper alert
- Restlessness and inability to relax
- Being irritable
- Difficulty focusing and concentrating
- Being “on edge”
- Being very quiet or talking excessively
- Fast heart rate
- Cold sweats
A person with chronic anxiety may also have a panic disorder that causes chest pains, hyperventilation, stomach cramps, nausea, heart palpitations and other physical symptoms.
What are the Risk Factors for Anxiety?
People with anxiety often have histories of unstable family situations. The condition may also develop from certain work environments and relationships where one’s emotional and physical safety is uncertain. Substance use may worsen a person’s anxiety tendencies.
How is Anxiety Diagnosed?
Our mental health counselors are trained to assess an individual for signs of generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder. This may involve a review of a person’s current circumstances or history.