There’s Anxiety And Then There’s ANXIETY: How To Tell The Difference

Anxiety is a normal feeling everyone has about everyday things. Then there is the type of anxiety that is actually a mental health disorder. So, how do you tell if you just have anxiety, or if you have ANXIETY? If you ask a psychologist who specializes in anxiety, like Marcia M. Laviage, Phd, you would probably get the following responses.

Anxiety As a Mental Health Disorder Is Crippling

Anxiety experienced during high periods of stress is a biological flight-or-fight response. It does not cause you any real harm, and once the moment has passed, you usually do not think about it again. However, anxiety as a mental health disorder is crippling. It plagues you, nags you, and otherwise isolates and freezes you to one spot with an inability to act. You cannot function or manage day-to-day tasks because your mind is constantly focused on the thing that is causing you anxiety. Your body remains in a hyperactive state for days on end, and some people with anxiety issues have trouble sleeping too.

There Are Different Forms and Diagnoses of Anxiety

People who are terrified of other people and crowded places have social anxiety. This limits their ability to go out in public, talk to people, and meet or visit with others. The extreme form of social anxiety is agoraphobia, which causes its sufferers to become home/housebound and not even go out for groceries or a walk outside. Generalized anxiety disorder causes its sufferers to worry excessively and unnecessarily, and to be fearful of everything that has not happened yet and may not happen at all. As a mental health issue, anxiety has many forms and several diagnoses, but all of them share the same component—they prevent you from functioning as a normal person.

You Do Not Need Medication for Short-Term Anxiety

Anxiety about a job promotion or anxiety about getting the house you bid on are just examples of normal short-term anxiety. You do not need medication to help you through these moments, nor do you need ongoing medication because the feeling passes when the moment passes. People who have anxiety as a mental health issue absolutely need medication and therapy to get through every day. They cannot hope to function otherwise, and cannot start, work on, or complete anything without medication and cognitive-behavioral help. If you are struggling, it is okay to ask for help, and it's okay to accept and acknowledge that you need help.