Anxiety – when does it become a problem?

Anxiety is a normal feeling that everyone experiences – a reaction that we have to stressful or unexpected events or situations. We are hard wired to have a “fight or flight” reaction. Even though we are not facing true survival situations every day, we still have the reaction to any situation that we believe is risky to our well being. Whether it is a shouting relative or a punitive boss, or a demanding teacher.

Some anxiety is normal, of course. However, sometimes it needs to be addressed with a qualified professional. How do you know when to talk to your doctor or a therapist? Ask yourself:

Do I seem to be anxious most of the time, without a cause I can identify?

When I am anxious does it distract or disrupt my daily routine in ways that I feel out of control of my feelings or thoughts?

Is it resulting in chronic loss of sleep, or impacting my physical well being in other ways?

It’s sometimes possible to suffer a low level of anxiety on an ongoing basis, and not recognize it as such. Perhaps you are always jumpy or tense, and unable to relax. Perhaps you experience rapid, shallow breathing, racing heartbeat, and muscle tension in absence of physical activity. You may not think of it as anxiety, but if it is disturbing or disruptive, you may find it helpful to talk to a licensed mental health therapist, who can assess and diagnose your symptoms.

Anxiety can cause stress over and above the stressors of life – you don’t have to let it interrupt your work or your time with your family. If you find that you can’t stop worrying, or that you are resorting to drugs or alcohol to help you relax because you can’t seem to stop feeling tense and wound up, call us. Alpha Behavioral Counseling Center can help.