Is anxiety ever normal? Anxiety is in fact a normal and often healthy emotion that you will experience throughout life. It is characterized by feelings of worry, unease, and fear. However, too much anxiety can be classified as a medical disorder and can cause negative physical, emotional, and behavioral symptoms.
In some cases, anxiety can be helpful, such as when it motivates you to study for an exam or prepare for a job interview. However, when anxiety is severe and persistent, it can become debilitating. If you suffer from an anxiety disorder, you may often feel excessively worried or scared, even when there is no real threat. This worry can lead to difficulty concentrating, sleeping, and everyday activities.
If anxiety is interfering with your life, it is essential to seek professional help. A trained mental health professional can determine whether your anxiety is within the normal range or if you have an anxiety disorder.
Risk Factors for Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety disorders are a common mental health problem, affecting millions of people around the world. While there is no one cause of anxiety disorders, several risk factors may contribute to their development.
Common risk factors include:
- Genetic predisposition: Studies have shown a genetic link to anxiety disorders. This means that if you have a family member with an anxiety disorder, you are more likely to develop an anxiety disorder yourself. Anxiety disorders are complex and vary in severity. Environmental factors, such as stress, can trigger them. If you have a genetic predisposition to anxiety disorders, you must be aware of the symptoms and seek treatment early if necessary.
- Early life experiences: Early life experiences can shape how you develop emotionally and how you cope with stress. For example, if you grew up in a household with constant conflict, you may have learned to deal with stress by becoming anxious and withdrawn. Additionally, early life experiences can also affect the development of the brain. Studies show that if you experience traumatic events early in life, you will have differences in how your brain develops compared to children who do not experience trauma. These differences can make you more vulnerable to adverse mental health effects.
- Brain chemistry: Anxiety disorders are brain-based conditions characterized by fear and worry. If you have an anxiety disorder, your brain chemistry is different from that of others, making you more likely to experience fear and worry. Treatment for anxiety disorders often includes medication, therapy, or both. Medication can help to balance brain chemistry and reduce symptoms of anxiety. Therapy can help you understand and cope with your fears and worries.
- Medical conditions: Conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, thyroid problems, and asthma can lead to anxiety. Other medical conditions that may cause or worsen anxiety include anemia, cancer, chronic pain, and migraine headaches. In addition to medical conditions, other risk factors for anxiety disorders include a family history of anxiety disorder, trauma, and stress.
- Your anxiety is interfering with your work, school, or personal relationships. When anxious symptoms interfere with your daily functioning, do not hesitate to reach out for help.
- You are using alcohol or drugs to cope with your anxiety. Self-medicating with drugs and alcohol is a slippery slope as it raises the risk of developing a substance use disorder.
- You are experiencing anxiety that is intense and constant. If you find you are never without anxiety symptoms, it may be time for professional help.
- You are having panic attacks. If you are having episodes of debilitating panic, reach out for help immediately.
- You are avoiding things or situations because of your anxiety. If anxiety is limiting your life, seek professional counseling.
- You are feeling hopeless or helpless. No one should go through life feeling as though their circumstances are hopeless. If your anxiety is creating a depressed mood, it is time to reach out for professional help.
- You are having thoughts of harming yourself or someone else. If you are experiencing suicidal or homicidal thoughts, seek professional help immediately.
If you are experiencing these signs, do not hesitate to reach out for professional help. A mental health professional can help you manage your anxiety and live a happy, healthy life.
How to Create a Low-Stress Lifestyle
To manage anxiety, it is crucial to develop a low-stress lifestyle. While some stress is inevitable, there are many things that you can do to minimize its impact on your life.
Here are some tips for minimizing stress:
- Get enough sleep: Sleep is crucial for overall health and wellbeing. It can also help reduce stress levels. Aim to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night.
- Eat right: A healthy diet can help you relax and feel better physically and emotionally. Concentrate on eating lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to reduce stress.
- Exercise regularly: Exercising is an excellent method to reduce stress and enhance your general health. On most days, set a goal of 30 minutes of moderate exercise.
- Take breaks: When you are feeling overwhelmed or stressed, take a few minutes for yourself to relax and rejuvenate. Take a hot bath, read your favorite book, or take a walk outdoors.
- Connect with loved ones: Spending time with friends and loved ones can help your find joy in the present moment and feel more connected to your community.
Get Help From The Phoenix Recover Center
Anxiety disorders are among the most common mental health conditions, impacting people of all ages and backgrounds. While the exact cause of anxiety disorders is not known, there are several risk factors that may contribute to their development. Genetic factors play a part, as does family social history, brain chemistry, life experiences, and medical conditions. Exposure to traumatic or stressful events in childhood can increase the risk of developing an anxiety disorder later in life. Although anyone can be affected by an anxiety disorder, understanding the risk factors can help in identifying those who may be more vulnerable and in need of extra support.
Everyone experiences anxiety in life, but if you or someone you know is experiencing overwhelming feelings that interfere with your daily functioning, it may be time for professional help. Call The Phoenix Recovery Center today at (801) 438-3185.