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Should You Be Worried About Your Anxiety?

Everyone feels anxious sometimes. Often, anxiety is a normal and natural response to life’s pressures and stresses. But for some people, it can become uncontrollable and overwhelming, persisting to the point where it interferes with daily activities. In fact, anxiety disorders are the most common type of psychiatric illness, and they affect approximately 40 million people in the United States alone. If your anxiety is pervasive or seems out of alignment with the real issues and problems you are facing, it may be time to consult a doctor or psychiatrist to find out if you have a more serious issue.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

Generalized Anxiety Disorder affects almost seven million adults in the US. Those with GAD tend to experience excessive worry or anxiety that lasts for months at a time and often has no specific or clear cause. Symptoms may also include:

  • Irritability
  • Difficulty with decision-making
  • Distress over possibly making the wrong decisions
  • Obsessing over possible negative consequences
  • Worrying or obsessing unduly over small and large issues
  • Difficulty with uncertainty
  • Worry about worrying
  • Inability to let go of worries
  • Restlessness or feeling on edge
  • Feeling twitchy or trembling
  • Being easily startled
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Muscle tension
  • Problems with sleep
  • Nausea or IBS
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue

Panic Disorder

Those with panic disorder have sudden, recurrent, and unexpected attacks of panic. These panic attacks can last several minutes, often negatively impacting a person’s quality of life and interfering with their ability to function normally. Symptoms may include:

  • Intense fear
  • Extreme worry
  • Sweating
  • Shaking or trembling
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling of smothering, or choking
  • Heart palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate
  • Fear of places where a panic attack may occur
  • Sense of impending doom
  • Feeling out of control

Social Anxiety Disorder

Also known as social phobia, social anxiety disorder is characterized by a fear of social or performance situations. While it is normal to sometimes feel nervous in social situations, social anxiety disorder goes far beyond simply butterflies. Everyday interactions can become a cause of extreme worry and self-doubt. Symptoms may also include:

  • Anxiety about interacting with others
  • Difficulty speaking with people
  • Extreme self-consciousness
  • Fear of being judged, rejected, or embarrassed
  • Worry about offending others
  • Avoiding places with people
  • Difficultly making friends
  • Sweating, blushing, or trembling around others
  • Nausea or upset stomach


People who suffer from agoraphobia have an overwhelming fear of places or situations that may cause them to feel trapped, helpless, or embarrassed. The fear may be of an actual or anticipated situation, including open or enclosed spaces, crowds, or public places in general. Symptoms may also include:

  • Fear of being alone
  • Fear of crowded spaces
  • Fear of losing control in public
  • Fear of enclosed spaces such as an elevator, bus, or train
  • Inability to leave your home or only being able to leave if accompanied
  • Overdependence on others
  • Symptoms of panic disorder
  • Sense of helplessness

Other Phobias

From heights and small places to spiders and snakes, many people experience some sort of phobia. But for some, the terror becomes so intense that they actively avoid places or situations simply from fear of facing their phobia even though they may realize that their fear is out of proportion with reality. In severe cases, symptoms of specific phobias may include:

  • Strong, irrational, excessive, or unreasonable fear
  • Avoiding common places, situations, or objects
  • Disruption of daily routines
  • Limited work efficiency
  • Reduced self-esteem
  • Strain on relationships

Anxiety disorders may originate during childhood, develop slowly over time, or seem to arise suddenly. There are also a number of other psychiatric disorders, including obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and depression which include anxiety among their possible symptoms. The best way to get an accurate diagnosis and treatment is to seek professional help.

If you’re suffering from some type of debilitating anxiety and need assistance with daily tasks, reach out to Specialty Care Services to get the support you need today! Our Bethesda caregiver experts can help with meal preparation, running errands, and other tasks that may feel overwhelming. Visit our Service Area page to see all of the communities we serve.

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