Being anxious about a new job or a temporarily challenging situation in your life is normal. You may be worried about what life will be like in a new neighborhood if you’re planning a move or concerned that you will do well in a presentation you have to make for work. However, if your symptoms of being anxious continue for a long time, you may wonder if you have anxiety or what kind of anxiety test is available so you can be sure.
An anxiety disorder is a mental health conditionthat can seriously affect your daily life. That feeling of fear or dread does not go away and, in fact, can become worse over time. Anxiety can impact your job, your personal life, and your relationships. It can be debilitating.
There are different types of anxiety disorders:
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is excessive worry about ordinary issues. If you are anxious about your family, your job, money, or health, and you have worries about any of these almost every day for at least six months, you may be diagnosed with GAD.
Panic Disorder is typically diagnosed when you have panic attacks that come on quickly and last for several minutes or even longer. These attacks occur even when you are in no actual danger, but you experience sudden, repeated periods of intense fear.
Phobias are diagnosed when you have an intense fear of something that doesn’t actually put you in danger. If your anxiety is a phobia, you may have a fear of going to crowded places, being in social situations, or even an intense and debilitating fear of objects or animals such as spiders.
Causes of Anxiety Disorders
While the precise cause of anxiety is unknown, it may be related to brain chemistry, stress levels, genetics, and influences from your environment. GAD and phobias are more common in women. General risk factors for anxiety disorders include:
- A family history of anxiety or other mental health issues
- Traumatic events that occurred in early childhood or adulthood
- Personality traits, such as being extremely shy or withdrawn in new situations or around people you don’t know
- Physical health conditions such as arrhythmia or thyroid conditions.
Do I Have Anxiety?
Anxiety affects 40 million people in the US. Anxiety disorders are the most common group of mental illnesses in this country. Less than 37% of people with an anxiety disorder receive treatment, though.
What symptoms are you experiencing that lead you to wonder if you have an anxiety disorder? Different types of anxiety have different symptoms, but all typically have some combination of:
- Changes in your behavior, such as avoiding activities that you used to do without fear.
- Physical symptoms, such as rapid heartbeat, dizziness, shortness of breath, pounding heart, and unexplained aches and pains.
- Thoughts or beliefs that are hard to control. These thoughts make you feel restless and tense. They will interfere with your daily activities. They do not go away, and instead you feel them more intensely over time.
When you are concerned that your anxious feelings may be an anxiety disorder, there is an anxiety test that will screen for symptoms. The test will help assess whether you have experienced symptoms of anxiety for extended periods of time. Questions will ask how often you are not able to stop or control your worrying and how often you feel afraid, as if something terrible might happen, for example.
Treatment for Anxiety
It’s important to follow up on the anxiety test with appropriate treatment if you suspect that you do have anxiety. A mental health professional can confirm the diagnosis and treat you with behavioral therapy, psychotherapy, and medications. If you are also struggling from a substance use issue, this can also have a strong effect on your mental health so both conditions will need to be treated together.
Hope by the Sea is Here to Help
If you are dealing with mental health issues such as anxiety, the professionals at Hope by the Sea are here to help. We are a southern California mental health and addiction treatment center, focused on helping men and women begin the journey of recovery from mood disorders and addiction. We specialize in treating you as a whole individual, so you can embrace your recovery with as much support and momentum as possible.
When you need help treating your mental health or substance use disorder, we offer the dual diagnosis treatment program you need. Please contact us today to learn more about our programs and services. Hope Starts Here!