Stressful situations abound in every life and every generation. Nonetheless, we’ve all had more than our share of stress these last few years.
Short-term stress is healthy; it alerts you to danger and gives you a sense of urgency to take action. This kind of response to stress is sometimes referred to as the fight-or-flight response. But if stress is continuous and left unchecked, it can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.
Normal stress symptoms mimic those of a more serious condition called an anxiety disorder. How do you tell the difference between them?
Hany Ashamalla, MD, a caring and expert psychiatrist at Notre Dame Behavioral Health in Surprise, Arizona, specializes in diagnosing and treating anxiety. He also distinguishes between the different types and levels of anxiety that could affect you.
If you experience excessive, persistent anxiety, or have a sense of impending doom, you may wonder if you need medical attention. When anxiety affects your ability or desire to do the things you need to do and like to do, then yes, it’s time to seek help. If you’re not sure if you’ve reached this point yet, the following are a few examples.
Of course, you shouldn’t overbook yourself if you’re feeling stressed. But if worrying about your life overwhelms you, and you consistently cancel social engagements, travel plans, and other activities you once enjoyed, you may benefit from professional help.
Stress, worry, and anxiety wear down your body. If you worry to the point of exhaustion and can’t function as you once did at work, in class, or in your daily activities, you may suffer from an anxiety disorder.
A panic attack comes on suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere. You feel a sense of impending danger or doom and have an immediate physical response, such as a rapid increase in heart rate, difficulty breathing, nausea, fear, or trembling.
When you’re in the midst of a panic attack, you may believe you’re having a heart attack and end up in the ER. If your doctors say there’s nothing wrong with your heart, you probably had a panic attack.
An anxiety disorder can make you feel like you’re on the outside, looking in at your own life. You may feel detached from people you live and work with. This is called social anxiety. Fear of being judged, meeting new people, or being observed can make you avoid other people and social situations.
It’s normal to feel stressed when faced with conflict. However, if you have an anxiety disorder, you might avoid voicing your opinion about even the most benign topics for fear of triggering conflict or undue attention.
Agoraphobia is an ancient Greek word that means “fear of the marketplace.” Agoraphobia is a form of anxiety in which you’re unwilling to leave the safety of your own home and venture into public. If you’re worried about having a panic attack in public, or if you’re so worried about what’s happening in the world that you can’t bear facing it “out there,” it’s time to get help.
No matter whether you have just one symptom of anxiety or several, anxiety is treatable. As with most medical and psychological conditions, the sooner you get started on a treatment plan, the better.
Millions of people experience anxiety disorders, so you’re not alone. Our team at Notre Dame Behavioral Health understands what you’re going through and helps you get back to the life and the people you love.
After we listen to your story and evaluate your symptoms, we customize a treatment plan that addresses the root causes of your anxiety and helps you overcome them. Treatment might include psychotherapy or counseling, exposure therapy, or cognitive-behavioral therapy. We may prescribe medication or suggest helpful dietary or lifestyle changes.
If your tendency to worry interferes with your life, activities, and happiness, call our team at Notre Dame Behavioral Health today, or request an appointment online.