Millions of people worldwide suffer from mental health conditions every year, with one of the biggest ones being anxiety. Anxiety can be debilitating or mild, and everything in between.
If you’ve been feeling not the best lately and wonder what might be going on, it’s worth learning about the common signs of anxiety in case this is what you’re suffering from. Plus, it helps to know some treatment ideas that can help you cope if you do have this mental health challenge.
Symptoms to Look Out For
There are multiple symptoms to look out for that indicate you’re suffering from anxiety. For example, one of the most common is feeling physical complaints such as heart palpitations and a racing pulse or noticing a dry mouth. You might get significant muscle tension or have cold or sweaty hands. Some other physical signs include sweating for no reason to do with the temperature or exercise, etc., feeling weak, tired, and lethargic, and trembling.
You might notice more behavioral symptoms instead or in addition to physical ones. For example, you may find yourself engaging in ritualistic patterns like washing your hands repeatedly or jiggling your leg, or simply notice you struggle to be calm and sit or stand still. It’s also common to stop engaging in the activities you used to like or avoid certain situations that make your anxiety spike.
Mental and emotional signs of anxiety include having regular nightmares or dealing with insomnia and other sleep problems. You might find that you’re irritable or can’t focus or concentrate or feel a lot of panic, doom, fear, or general uneasiness. Uncontrollable, obsessive thoughts become a real issue for some people, while others suffer from repeated thoughts or flashbacks to traumatic experiences from their past.
Symptoms can vary significantly from person to person and depend greatly on the type of anxiety being dealt with. There is, for instance, generalized anxiety disorder, panic attacks, social anxiety, agoraphobia, separation anxiety, or specific phobias to consider. If you tick some of the above boxes, it’s worth chatting with your family doctor or a counselor, psychologist, or another mental health practitioner for diagnosis and treatment solutions.
If you do have anxiety, don’t feel there’s nothing you can do proactively to feel better, though. There are multiple steps you can take to deal more effectively with your anxiety symptoms. First, though, it pays to engage in some talk therapy with a specialist to see if you can determine the root cause(s) of your anxiety. If you can puzzle out where these feelings are coming from, you may be able to radically reduce the symptoms you have or even get rid of your anxiety altogether.
Having some form of counseling, whether one-on-one or in a group and in-person or online, can also help you discover the primary triggers for your anxiety. It often helps to learn just how common anxiety is and hear other people speak about their coping paths to feel less alone and more optimistic about the future.
You might like to try out some medication designed for anxiety, too. Note that it can often take trying multiple products before you find the right option for your needs, so don’t despair if the first product you take doesn’t work for you or makes you feel worse. Hang in there and try a few options as necessary.
For many people, one of the most annoying facets of having anxiety is the vicious sleep deprivation cycle that can result. When you’re anxious and have racing thoughts, it’s hard to get to sleep or stay asleep. From there, being tired can then make you more likely to feel anxious and find it tough to deal effectively with the symptoms, which can make it even harder to rest, and so the circle continues.
Look for ways to combat this as best you can. For instance, make sure you have a quality bed to help you slumber deeply. You may need to invest in a quality new latex mattress or another type of product if your current bed is many years old or doesn’t suit your body shape, size, or sleeping style. Also, switch off devices an hour or two before bed, journal or write to-do lists as necessary to help your brain turn off, and make sure your bedroom is dark and quiet enough to enable you to sleep without distractions.
Many people also get some anxiety relief by eating a healthy, balanced diet, doing deep breathing and meditation regularly, plus stretching and exercising frequently. Hypnosis aids some people, too, as does spending social time hanging out with friends and family to focus on other things.
Anxiety can be a challenging mental health condition to deal with, but that doesn’t mean it has to rule your life. See a medical practitioner for diagnosis and assistance and trial some of the treatment options mentioned here to help you cope more effectively.