Anxiety can present itself in many forms. Most people can identify a feeling of anxiousness by an increased heart rate of “butterflies in the stomach.” You often experience these feelings of anxiousness when you have to address a group of people, or before you compete in an event. This is quite normal and actually needed as this feeling helps the body getting “ready” for a big event.
But then one day, while walking from your office to your car, you experience a feeling of awful dread. So much so that you are convinced that something bad is going to happen to you, or worse, you are going to die. Your heart starts to beat so fast, you are convinced you are having a heart attack, your breathing becomes shallow, your palms sweaty. This is classified as an anxiety disorder, such as a panic attack. This feeling is not normal and can actually have life altering effects.
Panic attacks are normally caused by a traumatic event which was not dealt with properly. For instance, being in a vehicle accident where you were injured, or being hijacked. People suffering from an anxiety disorder tend to start avoiding certain situations, people and places as they start fearing that they might suffer another panic attack. They start to alter their daily pattern, avoid certain areas or situations, normally the same situation that brought on a previous panic attack.
However, some people might experience a panic attack “out of the blue” with no trigger. In such instances, the person can exclude himself totally from society, withdrawing from even the closest family and friends.
To see if you might be suffering from anxiety, answer the following questions:
- Are you constantly tense, worried, or on edge?
- Does your anxiety interfere with your work, school, or family responsibilities
- Are you plagued by fears that you know are irrational, but can’t shake?
- Do you believe that something bad will happen if certain things aren’t done a certain way?
- Do you avoid everyday situations or activities because they cause you anxiety?
- Do you experience sudden, unexpected attacks of heart-pounding panic?
- Do you feel like danger and catastrophe are around every corner?
If you have answered yes to several of the above questions, you may be suffering from anxiety.
The good news is that there is help available. For more serious cases or if you feel that you have been experiencing panic attacks more frequently, it might be a good idea to see a professional such as a Clinical Psychologist.
Read other articles in our stress series:
Happiness with Homeopathy
Why exercise makes you happier
Mindfullness as a stress reduction practise
Common complications in men due to stress
Stress and weight gain