How often do we tell ourselves “oh my gosh, I am so anxious” or “this gives me anxiety” without the true definition behind it being considered an anxiety disorder? The term anxious and anxiety has become such a common term that it can easily get confused with how serious we should take our “anxious behaviors.'”
There is always the possibility of having some anxious feelings or traits without having clinically diagnosed anxiety disorder. Anxiety is defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association as; Excessive anxiety and worry (apprehensive expectation), occurring more days than not for at least 6 months, about a number of events or activities (such as work or school performance). Many people experience anxiety through a variety of symptoms such as chest tightness, difficulty breathing, difficulty controlling thoughts, sweat, an upset stomach, increased heart rate, difficulty sleeping and/or having a sense of impending doom/panic. Anxiety disorders come in many forms and need to be diagnosed by a professional, even including a physical examination, as some anxious feelings/behaviors could have underlying health reasons. Some examples of anxiety disorders can be social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, separation anxiety disorder, specific phobias and/or substance-induced anxiety disorder.
Anxiety is typically treated through psychotherapy and/or medications. One form of therapy geared towards people with Anxiety is CBT; cognitive behavior therapy, which works toward learning how to process and control your emotions/ thought process. Finding the right fit of what may work for you is key to learning how to cope with your anxiety no matter what the severity may be. Once you recognize you can control and let go, you can start to take back your own power and find strength to beat anxiety.
Madison Smith, LMSW