8 Warning Signs It’s Time to See a Therapist for Anxiety

Therapist for Anxiety

Feeling anxious, nervous, stressed, or overwhelmed? You may think it’s just a normal part of life in our hectic society, so you ignore it and keep pushing through your days. But what you think is everyday anxiousness might be an anxiety disorder. Alarmingly, more than half of the estimated 19.1% of American adults suffering from an anxiety disorder will not get treatment, according to figures from the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

While some anxiety can be helpful and good—even life-saving, too much is not. For millions of Americans, untreated anxiety is a destructive force negatively impacting health, relationships, and overall well-being.

When anxious feelings build slowly over time, you may not realize you have an anxiety disorder; it’s important to recognize the signs. Click To Tweet

When anxious feelings build slowly over time, you may not realize you have an anxiety disorder; it’s important to recognize the signs. Without understanding the difference between situational anxiousness and anxiety disorders, you may unwittingly be making your anxiety worse.

Here are some of the most common warning signs to look for. If you observe them in yourself, it’s likely time to see a qualified therapist.

8 WARNING SIGNS OF ANXIETY

1. You’re experiencing intense worry or panic.

If worrying is getting in the way of normal, day-to-day functioning, you may have an anxiety issue. Perhaps you’re overthinking so much that you can’t focus on your work or even relax reading a book. Or maybe your mind races with a cascade of stressful thoughts that takes you so out of the moment, you lose track of what you are doing, like missing your exit on the freeway.

If you experience a sudden episode of intensified anxiety and unreasonable feelings of fear that produces physical symptoms such as a racing heart, fast breathing, and sweating—it is likely a panic attack and a sure sign you need to see a mental health professional.

2. You’re more forgetful.

Working memory can be adversely affected by anxiety, research shows. You use your working memory for solving problems and managing bits of information in current time. When it’s disrupted by anxiety and worry, you might forget where you parked your car or if you took your medicine. If you continually forget things—even recent events, it could be anxiety affecting you.

3. You notice changes in your sleep or appetite.

If you’re having trouble falling asleep and/or staying asleep, that’s a red flag for anxiety. Worried thoughts, an activated stress response, and rumination can all disrupt sleep. Plus, it’s anxiety-provoking to have trouble sleeping, And the big topper, lack of sleep is associated with higher levels of anxiety, causing a vicious circle.

If you notice that you’re overeating or not eating enough, it could be that you are dulling anxiety-driven feelings. Indeed, one recent study on anxious college students showed a high association with overeating during the pandemic. Research has noted that acute stress and anxiety appear to be more tied to undereating, and chronic stress and anxiety to overeating. Seeing a therapist can help address your anxiety and normalize your eating.

4. You’re losing your cool more frequently.

Anger and anxiety are strongly linked. Experts warn that if you have a shorter fuse than usual or are quick to anger, it may be related to increasing anxiety levels. Anxiety can masquerade as anger. When you rage at someone else, it allows you to blame your anxious feelings on something outside of yourself. Yet, research shows that anger coupled with untreated anxiety leads to negative outcomes.

Anxiety can trigger the fight-or-flight stress response as a result of real or perceived danger. Thus, physiologically, your body readies itself to potentially fight off a danger, which can cause an overreaction as a means of self-defense.

Also, anxious feelings can drive you to try to keep very tight control over your life situations, experiences, and feelings, which, ultimately, cannot be controlled. This leads to bitterness, frustration, and anger.

So, if you’re feeling restless, irritable, highly reactive, and frequently angry, it may be time to address your anxiety with a professional.

5. You’re experiencing physical symptoms.

Physical symptoms such as nausea, headaches, shortness of breath, shakiness, or stomach pain can be caused by anxiety, according to a Harvard Medical School report. Experts believe that this may be a result of the autonomic nervous system getting activated by the fight-or-flight stress response. Additionally, pain conditions such as fibromyalgia, migraines, back pain, and arthritis are highly associated with anxiety, according to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America.

A number of digestive issues are related to anxiety too. Experts believe this is due to the connection between the brain and the gastrointestinal system. Your enteric nervous system is embedded in the lining of the gastrointestinal system, and information is shared between the brain and the gut. That’s why you get that fluttery feeling in your stomach when you’re nervous.

Some research also shows that dizziness is a common symptom related to anxiety. Scientists believe this may be due to the vestibular system, the part of the brain that controls balance, frequently interacting with the areas of the brain responsible for anxiety.

If you’re experiencing these types of symptoms, not related to any other medical condition, it may indicate an anxiety issue.

6. You’re engaging in unhealthy coping strategies.

If you find yourself staying up too late binge-watching television or having a drink to unwind every night, consider that untreated anxiety may be driving your behavior. Indeed, research involving college students showed that anxious students frequently engaged in a number of negative coping behaviors such as self-harm, drinking alcohol, smoking, overeating, undereating, and using recreational drugs. Yet, any type of behavior can be an unhealthy coping skill if it is used to avoid anxious feelings—including reading heaps of books, spending too much time on social media, or shopping compulsively online.

7. You’re struggling with procrastination and perfectionism.

Studies show that high levels of procrastination are associated with poor mental health, including anxiety. It’s common to put off the very thing that you’re anxious about, such as a difficult work task or an uncomfortable conversation. However, if you start to avoid and procrastinate on practically everything in your life, it’s a sign of a potential anxiety problem.

Where there’s procrastination, there’s often perfectionism—another indicator of anxiety. In fact, in most cases, research suggests that perfectionism derives from anxiety or low self-esteem, and perfectionists are at a higher risk of having an anxiety disorder.

If you struggle with procrastination, perfectionism, or both, you’re probably anxious too, and therapy can help.

8. Your relationships are suffering.

We would not be human if we didn’t have trouble in relationships from time to time. However, when your romantic relationships are often in turmoil, or you’re having blowups with friends—or you have few, if any, relationships at all, it’s a sign of anxiety.

In one study, participants suffering from anxiety were significantly less likely to describe their relationship with a partner or spouse as “healthy and supportive.” The study found that anxious participants were twice as likely to have regular arguments with their partners, and three times as likely not to be intimate. It’s not surprising then to learn that people who have anxiety disorders are more likely to be single and have higher rates of divorce, according to research.

Anxious people can be overly dependent on others, needing constant reassurance. Or they can be cold and avoidant, out of fear of getting close and rejected. Either side of the anxiety spectrum makes maintaining healthy relationships difficult.

If you notice any of these warning signs of anxiety, you may benefit from seeking professional help and getting to the root causes of your issues.

Anxiety, panic attacks, and other mental health issues can’t wait. At Amen Clinics, we’re here for you. We offer in-clinic brain scanning and appointments, as well as mental telehealth, clinical evaluations, and therapy for adults, teens, children, and couples. Find out more by speaking to a specialist today at 888-288-9834 or visit our contact page here.

9 Comments »

  1. I think I need help can you, what cost

    Comment by David Bradford — February 3, 2023 @ 4:01 AM

  2. What is the cost of a telehealth visit? I think anxiety is making my life very difficult at this time

    Comment by Leslie Malavsky — February 3, 2023 @ 5:38 AM

  3. While the work you do is great and the benefits are many, there is something you have omitted from the equation. I'm referring to the system in which we live and its effects on the mind/damage to the brain and nervous system that show up inevitably as we age. Some of us have lived our entire lives trying to function fully within it only to find that the dreams we held and strived to achieve could not be fully realized within it. Not only that, our materialist dreams, the only dreams we were truly allowed, were never sustainable. Because of the inherent exclusionary nature of the system. In 2023, it's high time to give this some thought, language, air time, and exploration if we are ever to be a well society and people. Thank you.

    Comment by Meta — February 3, 2023 @ 6:37 AM

  4. Great info here in anxiety symptoms. Regarding seeking help, a psych person told me they have less than 50% success rate for alleviating anxiety. Plus besides benzodiazepam’s what can they even do that we can’t do on our own such as deep breathing. And ants work. Tapping. Relaxing. Etc. With guidance from your books in given situations. Seems we are stuck with anxiety that we just have to work hard to manage and also not live as full of a life as we would if we didn’t have it. Some people got it from their parents and environment both and it’s tough plus grief and depression. No being free of it. Just have to work hard to manage it and live a more controlled life. What else to do?

    Comment by Lisa b — February 3, 2023 @ 12:06 PM

  5. I was 64 years old before I was diagnosed with double anxiety genetic markers. On top of that I was tested for MTHFR and have been learning more about homocystinuria and subsequent health problems from poor detoxification as well as problems with nutrient processing. Being raised to be caring adds to my anxiety. I had to find RX to help bring worse anxiety down as well as some helpful BP-lowering vegetables/fruits and other foods to do the same. The health problems also ended up including hypothyroidism and hypoadrenia (adrenal fatigue AKA adrenal insufficiency) which can cause more anxiety when in a heightened state of caring and anxiety. Ashwagandha helps balance that out. GABA and melatonin and serotonin supplements help me shift into sleep mode every night with less anxiety. I hope that there is more about MTHFR issues networked for the general public and NAMI patients.

    Comment by Elinor Nosker — February 3, 2023 @ 7:01 PM

  6. Hello Leslie, thank you for reaching out. For more information about SPECT scans, appointments, and consultations, please contact our Care Coordinators: https://www.amenclinics.com/schedule-visit/.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — February 4, 2023 @ 2:18 PM

  7. Hello David, thank you for reaching out. For more information about SPECT scans and our services, please contact our Care Coordinators: https://www.amenclinics.com/schedule-visit/.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — February 4, 2023 @ 2:19 PM

  8. This web site definitely has all the info I needed
    about this subject and didn't know who to ask.

    Comment by golden teacher mushroom — December 1, 2023 @ 8:28 PM

  9. Valuable іnformation. Lucky mme I found your site
    by chance, and I'm surprised ѡhy this coincidence did not happened
    iin adᴠance! I bookmarked it.

    Comment by Marcella — February 14, 2024 @ 7:22 AM

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a comment

Contact Us

Pre-order Daniel Amen, MD’s new book “Raising Mentally Strong Kids” and get 5 bonus gifts! Click here for details.

X