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What Are the Signs of an Anxiety Disorder?

Woman considers the signs of anxiety

Anxiety is, at moderate levels, a biological response to a stressful event. It is a reaction that occurs when someone sees or hears something that they know could result in a negative outcome. To this extent, anxiety is stress, and stress is natural. However, these feelings of anxiety and stress can go far beyond what’s typical. But how can you tell the difference between moments of stress and an anxiety disorder?

At Peer Mental Wellness, we have established a team of specialists dedicated to helping program participants better understand their mental health conditions. We provide those struggling with anxiety the tools and resources needed to live a healthy, happy life. Through our anxiety treatment program, we help those in our care uncover the root causes of their anxiety to understand better what they might experience and what they feel as a reaction.

Symptoms of Anxiety

There are a number of potential symptoms of anxiety. These symptoms can range from the cognitive to the physical, but all contribute to the feelings of discomfort associated with anxiety. The most common symptoms include:

  • Feeling nervous or restless
  • Difficulty controlling feelings of nervousness
  • Sweating
  • Trembling
  • Increased heart rate
  • Hyperventilation
  • Having the urge to avoid things that trigger anxiety
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Inability to focus
  • Feeling weak or tired

Signs of Anxiety Disorder

The difference between experiencing the symptoms of anxiety and having an anxiety disorder is found in the rate and severity of how these symptoms are experienced. If persistent and moderately severe, chances are the cause might be an anxiety disorder. However, if feelings related to anxiety occur directly after a stressful event and fade away shortly thereafter, it is likely not to be an anxiety disorder. There are a number of different ways that anxiety can be experienced and multiple anxiety disorders that deal with a specific type of anxiety. While many of these disorders share the same symptoms, these symptoms are experienced very differently:

  • Agoraphobia – Agoraphobia is a type of anxiety you might be familiar with as it has been popularized in various forms of media. It is a type of anxiety that causes people to become intimately afraid of places or situations that might make them feel trapped or helpless.
  • Panic disorders – Panic disorder describes a state of someone who experiences recurring episodes of fear or terror. These episodes are often brought on suddenly and can cause feelings of doom, hyperventilation, shortness of breath, and chest pain.
  • Social anxiety disorders – This form of anxiety pertains to high levels of fear and terror in regard to social situations. Those suffering from a social anxiety disorder often avoid social situations because they feel embarrassed, self-conscious, or fear being judged.
  • Generalized anxiety disorder – This is the most common anxiety disorder and is described as having consistent and excessive feelings of anxiety and worry surrounding activities and aspects of one’s daily routine.

The difference between an anxiety disorder versus experiencing signs of anxiety comes down to the severity and how consistently these symptoms are felt.

Find Help Through Anxiety Treatment Programs at Peer Mental Wellness

Many treatments are available today to help those suffering from an anxiety disorder. It is most common that anxiety is treated through therapy, medication, and relaxation techniques. The approaches that work best for anxiety disorders include:

  • Cognitive therapy – Cognitive therapy is a form of therapy aimed at changing the thought patterns and behavioral trends that can lead to or increase feelings of anxiety. At its core, cognitive therapy views belief as a trigger for thoughts, which then trigger feelings and produce behavior. In this way, cognitive therapists aim to realign their patients’ beliefs with the reality they live in rather than the reality they create.
  • Behavior therapy – Behavior therapy is more focused on exposure and relaxation techniques. Within this exposure, patients will be brought face to face with their fears and feelings, which cause them anxiety. Through exposure, patients are trained to redefine the danger that causes them anxiety, rather than letting it define them.
  • Medication – Medication has proven to be a useful resource for those experiencing an anxiety disorder. While this form of treatment is meant to be temporary and short-term and can do a lot to relieve the symptoms of anxiety while you and your therapist get to work.

For those seeking anxiety treatment in Los Angeles, look no further than Peer Mental Wellness. We are well equipped to analyze the signs and symptoms of anxiety and create a treatment plan that is best suited for you. For more information or to schedule your appointment today, contact us at 714.844.5473

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