It’s normal to feel anxious from time to time. Perhaps you get a bit nervous speaking in front of people or going on a job interview. But for some people, anxiety becomes a frequent and forceful occurrence that completely takes over their lives.

Since anxiety comes in many forms, for instance panic attacks, phobias and social anxiety, it can often be difficult to tell if what you’re experiencing is “normal” or has crossed the line into a mood disorder.

If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you may want to speak with a counselor who can help you cope with your anxiety.

Excessive Worry

General anxiety disorder (GAD), the broadest type of anxiety, is characterized by excessive worry. People with GAD worry too much about everyday things, both big and small. But what constitutes “too much worry?”

With GAD, people are plagued with persistent, anxious thoughts most days of the week. This anxiety can become so overwhelming it interferes with their daily life. If you are worrying to a degree that you have trouble doing daily tasks and are suffering with your emotions, it may be time to speak with a therapist.

Trouble Sleeping

Sleep issues such as falling asleep or staying asleep have been associated with a myriad of health conditions, both physical and psychological. It’s normal for people to have trouble sleeping from time to time. Perhaps you find yourself tossing and turning before a big job interview or giving a presentation.

However, if you find yourself night after night lying awake, anxious about specific problems (such as relationship problems or financial difficulties), or even about nothing in particular, it may be a sign of an anxiety disorder.

Muscle Tension

Anxiety disorders can often be accompanied by persistent muscle tension. Do you find yourself clenching your jaw or balling your fists throughout the day? You may have lived with this chronic muscular tension for so long you don’t even realize it anymore. While exercise can help relax muscles, therapy will get to the root cause of the anxiety.

Digestive Problems

While anxiety lives in the mind, it is often manifested in the body through chronic digestive problems, such as irritable bowel syndrome. Our guts are very sensitive to emotional and psychological stress. Unfortunately, digestive upset can often make a person feel even more anxious.

Panic Attacks

Panic attacks can be a frightening experience. You are suddenly gripped with an overwhelming feeling of dread and fear. These are often accompanied by physical symptoms such as shortness of breath, racing heart, dizziness, and profuse sweating. Though not everyone who has an anxiety disorder will experience panic attacks, but those that do live in constant fear.

Anxiety disorders keep people from living a joyful and fulfilling life. Luckily there is help. A therapist can assist in uncovering the root cause of the anxiety and offer tools to cope.

If you or a loved one is interested in exploring treatment, please contact me today. I would be happy to speak with you about how I may be able to help.

Priscilla Hurd, LPC, M.Ed.

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