With life’s daily stresses and general uncertainty, it’s no wonder that anxiety disorders plague so many individuals.
As stated in the statistics released by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), such disorders are the most prevailing mental illness in the United States. It’s known to have affected more than 40 million adults in the age range of 18 to 54.
What Is Anxiety?
It’s a feeling of worry, uneasiness, or fear that can be mild or severe. The severity can interfere with the ability to lead a normal life for some.
Is It Really That Bad?
While every person experiences anxiety from time to time, only the people suffering from an anxiety disorder are most affected by it. Anxiety disorders can be highly disabling and prevent individuals from living their everyday lives.
In some cases, people with anxiety will seek treatment. However, many anxiety sufferers do not seek help due to the social stigma associated with mental disorders.
If you have a loved one who seems to be struggling, it’s crucial to spot the signs to assist them in getting the help they need. Some cases might even require help from professionals like anxiety counseling San Diego or other forms of therapy.
How To Spot Someone Suffering From Anxiety
Anxiety can manifest in various ways, so it can be difficult to know if someone is suffering from one. However, some general signs may indicate that someone is struggling with it. Here are ways to spot a loved one suffering from anxiety:
1. Watch For Physical Symptoms
The first thing you can do to be aware of your loved ones’ mental state is to watch for physical symptoms. Anxiety can manifest itself differently in many ways, but some of the most common symptoms include a racing heart, sweating, dizziness, and difficulty breathing. Sometimes, symptoms manifest themselves through physical pain such as headaches, muscle tension or joint pain.
In some cases, people with anxiety also experience gastrointestinal problems such as nausea and diarrhea. Psychologists sometimes call these symptoms ‘the fight or flight response.’ It’s the body’s natural way of preparing to either confront or flee from a dangerous situation.
2. Notice Their Behavior
Behavioral changes are another key indicator that someone is suffering from anxiety disorders. They may sometimes seem tense or uptight. They may also have difficulty relaxing or sleeping and may be constantly worried or fearful. Some may have trouble concentrating or completing tasks.
They may isolate themselves from others because they are embarrassed about their anxiety, which only worsens the problem. People with anxiety often avoid public situations due to feelings of embarrassment or self-consciousness brought about by their anxiety symptoms.
3. Pay Attention To Changes In Moods
Aside from changes in behavior and physical symptoms, people with anxiety disorders may also exhibit signs of depression such as sadness, hopelessness or guilt. While some of these mood changes can be attributed to other conditions such as clinical depression, anxiety is often the cause.
In most cases, people with anxiety disorders do not have a good day. They may feel like they are constantly struggling and that life is an uphill battle. People with anxiety also seem to be in a perpetual state of negative moods.
4. Watch For Isolation
Another common sign that someone is struggling with anxiety is social isolation. As mentioned, they often isolate themselves because of the stigma, which only worsens the problem. They may feel like they aren’t good enough or that people will judge them if they know about their anxiety.
As a result, people with anxiety disorders often have few friends and are very withdrawn. When invited to social events, they may decline to avoid the situation. It only perpetuates their feelings of isolation, and they become trapped in a cycle that is difficult to escape.
5. Take Note Of Changes In Daily Habits
Change in daily habits is also a sign of people struggling with anxiety. People with anxiety may begin to avoid activities they used to enjoy and even change how they eat. They may also start exercising more or drinking more alcohol or caffeine.
All of these changes are coping mechanisms that people use when struggling with anxiety. They may also be upping their use of stimulants or other drugs and may seem to be struggling more than usual.
6. Notice Changes In Sleeping Habits
Anxiety can also cause people to have difficulty sleeping. They may have trouble falling asleep or wake up frequently during the night. People with anxiety often have a lot of trouble relaxing, and they are finding it hard to get the worries off their minds.
It can lead to fatigue and daytime drowsiness, which worsens the problem. Someone suffering from anxiety may also fall into a vicious cycle of not sleeping. They worry about their lack of sleep, which in turn, makes it even harder to get to sleep.
7. Consider How They React To Situations
How a person reacts to situations can be a critical indicator that they’re suffering from anxiety. People with anxiety disorders tend to catastrophize and blow things out of proportion. When faced with a stressful situation, they may automatically imagine the worst-case scenario even if there’s no real evidence for it.
Be careful not to judge and jump to conclusions when looking at how they respond to stressful situations. They may be experiencing a bad day, or something bigger may be going on. Observe how they react and talk to them if you’re concerned about their well-being.
8. Observe How They Talk About Themselves
People with anxiety often have a negative view of themselves. They may feel like they are not good enough or can’t do anything right. It’s called self-doubt, and it’s a common symptom of anxiety.
If you notice that somebody talks negatively about themselves, they may be struggling with anxiety. Notice how they voice themselves out and provide positive feedback if needed.
9. Notice The Negative Thoughts
Anxiety is often the cause of negative thinking. People who suffer from anxiety often have many negative thoughts that they can’t seem to escape. These negative thoughts are often unrealistic, and they cause people to feel stressed out, worried, or sad.
As strange as it may sound, just noticing the negative thoughts is an important first step in helping your loved one. By noticing the thoughts and bringing them to your loved one’s attention, you can help start breaking the cycle.
Knowing When To Seek Professional Help
If you’ve tried these tips and your loved one is still struggling with anxiety, it may be time to seek out professional help. Many treatment options, such as psychotherapy or medication, can effectively treat anxiety disorders. If you think they’d benefit from professional help, talk to them about it and encourage them to see a doctor.
Your loved one might not be willing to seek help on their own, but you can offer your support and encouragement to speak with a healthcare professional. Remember that you can’t force someone to get better. However, by showing your love and support, you might be able to make a big difference in their life.