Unsure About Your Anxiety? How To Get Diagnosed With Anxiety By A Health Professional
Updated August 28, 2020
Medically Reviewed By: Aaron Dutil
Although we tend to think of mental health issues as easily identifiable, the truth is that many mental health disorders have the potential to go unnoticed as not all of the symptoms that are present within a disorder are severe enough to warrant a trip to a doctor or therapist's office.
For example, anxiety is one mental health issue that is commonly associated with panic attacks. While these can occur in those who do have an anxiety disorder and are easy to spot, there are other symptoms of anxiety that can slip under our personal health radar and can negatively impact us without us being fully aware of the problem at hand.
When you are in a situation such as the one above, you may often second guess yourself when it comes to your mental health and may wonder whether you or overreacting or truly dealing with a mental health issue. If you believe that you may have anxiety, take a look at the article below to learn more about anxiety and how you can get properly diagnosed by a mental health professional.
What Is Anxiety and When Is It a Problem?
When one hears the word anxiety, they most likely think about someone who is constantly worried or afraid about most aspects of their life and is dealing with physical side effects as a result of the disorder. While this is true, it is only true to a certain extent and we must clear up what anxiety really is and what the scope of the disorder is for those who are experiencing it.
One common misconception that may lead many to believe they have a problem is the belief that anxiety is bad when it appears in our lives in any way, shape, or form. The truth is that anxiety is a healthy emotion that is designed to help us with survival. When we experience something that scares or worries us, it triggers our fight-or-flight response that boosts the adrenaline in our system and manifests in a number of physical and mental ways. While danger can trigger this emotion, you may also experience anxiety before a major situation in your life such as a job interview or a presentation. These responses are completely normal as well and will often wear off once you have gone through the situation and they are often not strong enough to prevent you from going through with whatever is scaring or stressing you out.
While this anxiety is natural, there are anxiety disorders that take these responses one step further and leave individuals in a constant state of fear and nervousness that often impacts their ability to function normally in their day-to-day lives. Rather than experiencing anxiety when it strikes, these individuals are always anticipating dangers to come up in their lives and it prevents them from following through in all or specific aspects of their lifestyle. Anxiety disorders can range anywhere from mild to severe and this is why it can sometimes be hard for some individuals to determine whether or not they may have an anxiety disorder themselves, especially if they have been living with feelings of anxiety for a long time.
What Type of Symptoms Accompany Anxiety Disorders?
If you have been looking for more information on how to know if you have anxiety, the first place to look is at the symptoms that are associated with anxiety disorders. Here are some of the major symptoms that come with anxiety disorders that will better help you determine if you are currently dealing with an anxiety disorder.
We typically know how much we should be worrying about a situation based on how serious it is. For example, if you are simply waiting to hear back about a small medical issue from your doctor, you are going to be less worried than you would if you were waiting to hear back about whether or not you can keep your current job. Those who have an anxiety disorder, however, will typically worry excessively about almost any given situation and will not have a normal stress response to varying situations. If you are dealing with an anxiety disorder, you are most likely worried about most things extensively on a regular basis.
Feeling Agitated and Irritated
Our body is not designed to take on large amounts of stress and nervousness for extended periods of time. Hormones that are released during this process have a negative impact over time when they are constantly being released and one of the side effects of this consistent release and storage of chemicals in the body is agitation that will often result in an individual lashing out at others with no necessary reasoning for doing so. Feeling overall agitated and showing signs of unjustifiable agitation could be another sign of an anxiety disorder.
Restlessness (Both in and Out of Bed)
While it is not a symptom that is necessarily indicative of an anxiety disorder on its own, feeling restless or on edge for the majority of your day during most of the week is one of the major signs that often accompanies other symptoms listed in this list. In addition, this restlessness can also cause problems for those who are trying to fall asleep as they may have trouble falling or staying asleep due to their constant feelings of nervousness and fear.
Tension and Fatigue
More often than not, anxiety disorders can leave those who are affected feeling tense and tired while they are coping with the disorder. This is due to the fact that the fear and nervousness will result in muscle tension and tiredness as the individual mentally deals with the constant intrusive thoughts. If you are feeling tired and tense constantly because of the nervousness and fear you are feeling, this may be a major sign that you are coping with your own anxiety disorder.
Strong Irrational Fears That Impact the Individual's Ability to Function Properly in Society
For some individuals, the anxiety disorder that they are dealing with spreads evenly across all aspects of their lives. For others, however, the fear caused by the anxiety disorder may affect one part of their lives more than others and prevent them from functioning properly in regards to that specific area. For example, there are those with anxiety disorders who have a crippling fear of leaving the house while there are others who may have trouble speaking to others or speaking publicly. Having an irrational fear that leaves you unable to do certain things is a major red flag that reveals an underlying anxiety disorder that needs to be taken care of.
Dealing With Certain Physical Symptoms on a Regular Basis
If you have ever been really worried about something in your life, you know how anxiety can feel. For those who have an anxiety disorder, these physical symptoms are often amplified and are experienced regularly rather than during stressful times. Some of the physical symptoms include an increased heart rate or heart palpitations, hyperventilation, excessive sweating, trembling or shaking, an inability to properly concentrate, stomach pains or other stomach issues, and panic attacks in some individuals. Panic attacks on occasion may not necessarily be indicative of an anxiety disorder but experiencing many of these physical symptoms or panic attacks regularly could be another good indication that you are dealing with an anxiety disorder.
It should also be noted here that it can be easy to mix up anxiety and stress as they share some of the same physical symptoms and can wear the body down over time. If you are lacking the nervousness or fear that often comes from anxiety, you are most likely dealing with chronic stress and will need to receive treatment and help for that. However, stress could potentially lead to anxiety or other mental health issues so it is important to tackle this issue as soon as possible before it evolves into something worse.
Many individuals want to know how to diagnose anxiety on their own and the list of symptoms above will give you a better idea of whether or not you have your own anxiety disorder and if you should reach out for help.
What to Do: The Next Step in the Healing Journey
If you can relate to any of the symptoms listed above and are dealing with these symptoms at any severity level, the next step to take is to seek out the help of a counselor who can better diagnose your specific situation and help you get the help you need so that you can take care of the symptoms and start leading a life that is free of anxiety symptoms that are constantly getting in your way.
Although there are exercises you can do on your own at home to help you better cope with an anxiety disorder, it is also recommended that you visit a therapist as they can help you determine whether or not you are dealing with a specific disorder(take, for example, generalized anxiety disorder or social anxiety disorder) and what you will need to do in order to heal from those anxiety issues.
Are you looking to take your first step today but are not sure where to start? If so, you can easily visit BetterHelp today to connect with an online counselor who can diagnose your anxiety and set you up with a treatment plan that will allow you to better cope with your disorder and return to a way of life that gives you more happiness and freedom!