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How Do You Know if You Have an Anxiety Disorder?

A pensive young woman looks out her window.
Feelings of peace and calm don’t come naturally to everyone.

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Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. In fact, 18 percent of the adult population experiences one every year.

But the truly alarming statistic is that only 36.9 percent of those suffering from such a disorder seek treatment.

Let’s step back a minute and take a look at what an anxiety disorder actually looks like.

Symptoms of Anxiety Disorder

There are several different types of anxiety disorder. The National Institute of Mental Health breaks it down like this:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Symptoms include feelings of being restless, wound up or on edge, being easily fatigued, having trouble concentrating, irritability, muscle tension, difficulty controlling worry and sleep problems such as difficulty falling or staying asleep.
  • Panic Disorder. Panic attacks are sudden periods of intense fear that may include shortness of breath, an accelerated heart rate and feelings of doom. This can lead to intense worries about when another panic attack may occur.
  • Social Anxiety Disorder. Symptoms include feeling highly anxious about being with other people, worrying about being humiliated or embarrassed, worried about offending others, being afraid that others will judge you, worrying for days or weeks before an event where you will have to see people, having a hard time making friends and feeling nauseous when around other people.

How to Know if You Have Anxiety

Everyone feels anxious from time to time. But there is a big difference between typical anxiety and the having an anxiety disorder.

If you’re concerned that anxiety is getting in the way of your enjoyment of life, then it’s time to see your family doctor, who will first do a physical exam to rule out any physical cause of your symptoms (such as a thyroid condition.)

Take a look back at the last six months. Do you feel anxious—or experience other symptoms of anxiety—on more days than not? If so, you may need help.

The Good News

Anxiety disorders are “highly treatable,” according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.

In other words, you don’t have to live like this.

Some people turn to drugs or alcohol to—temporarily—give them a feeling of calm. But while that works in the short-term, it actually increases anxiety over time.

The real solution is to address the problem through therapy, stress and relaxation techniques and possibly medication.

If, however, you’re already battling an addiction (very common in those facing mental illness) then you’ll need to address both at the same time. Addiction and anxiety can become so intertwined that it’s nearly impossible to address the individually.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment at The Raleigh House

Based in Denver, The Raleigh House believes in treating the whole person, not just the addiction, including physical, spiritual, emotional and mental health. Our team includes medical doctors, psychologists, master’s level therapists, nurses and even a nutritionist. Fill out our form or contact us today to learn more about our drug and alcohol addiction treatment programs.

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