Everyone gets stressed out and worried from time to time. We all feel anxious, nervous or scared about certain situations such as public speaking, or the first day on a new job, going off to college, a first date, work deadlines, and so forth.
That kind of anxiety might get your adrenaline pumping for a short while as your mind strives to find a comfort zone of confidence, control, and personal empowerment. Feeling anxious like this is a normal and common human experience.
Once the anxiety-producing event is over, you’re back to your normal self again. The problem is time-limited, easily solved alone or with a little counseling.
But, did you know that more serious types of anxiety affect 40 million Americans every year? These types include:
The average age of first experiencing a serious type of anxiety is 11, and women are 60% more likely to suffer at some point in their lives from an anxiety disorder than men, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.
While it’s possible that an uncommon medical condition is producing your anxiety, it’s more likely attributed to a particularly unhelpful way that your mind is perceiving danger. When the mind perceives a threat, it reacts. That’s instinctual and is designed to be self-protective.
Sometimes the mind perceives situations as threatening when they really are not. When you have one of the serious types of anxiety, it’s like your mind gets stuck in constantly perceiving danger even when it’s not objectively there.
When that happens, the brain sends biochemical signals to the body to prepare to fight, flee, or freeze. It’s this physical, adrenaline-releasing mechanism that causes us to feel on edge.
This becomes a vicious cycle. The body feels on edge, so the mind becomes hyper-alert for danger which triggers the release of more adrenaline which in turn makes us more scared and anxious.
It is always advisable to consult a psychiatrist, psychotherapist, or your primary care physician when you have reason to believe that your anxiety is out of control. Getting an expert opinion about what’s going on will help to set your mind at ease and assure that you get the best care most quickly.
You can also help yourself by practicing these three tips:
These four tips can be combined with any other treatment your psychiatrist, psychotherapist, or primary care physician has prescribed for you.
To work with one of our mental health experts, call us today!