Feeling anxious every once in a while and having an anxiety disorder are two very different things. When you have an anxiety disorder, you can become fixated on a thought or feeling that leads you down a rabbit hole of anxious thoughts. While there are different types of anxiety disorders, a common thread between them all is that it interferes with your daily life. Here are four signs that may signal you are dealing with an anxiety disorder.
Your Anxious Thoughts Don’t Go Away
When you have an anxiety disorder, you often become incredibly anxious in situations where others might only get a little anxious, like during family gatherings. This anxiety also tends to last longer and is more persistent. When your anxious thoughts start to impact your daily life, that's when it becomes an issue.
Your Anxiety Manifests Itself Physically
If your anxious thoughts are accompanied by physical conditions, like restlessness, fatigue, and muscle pain, among others, it could signal that you have an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders can lead to gastrointestinal issues, like heartburn, cramping, and even diarrhea. These physical symptoms are as a result of your body being in a constant heightened state of anxiety.
You Can’t Focus
It isn't that uncommon for people who have a general anxiety disorder to be mistakenly diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This is because when you have an anxiety disorder, you tend to have difficulty focusing. When you're always anxious, you tend to be in your head constantly and can get distracted by the negative thoughts and obsessions rattling around in your head. To an outsider, it looks like you have ADHD.
You Have Trouble Sleeping
The anxiety that you experience tends to take your thoughts on a ride that leaves you struggling to catch some zzz’s. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), some level of sleep disruption is present in almost all mental disorders, including anxiety.
If you have more than one of these symptoms, there’s a good chance that you might be dealing with an anxiety disorder. However, before you jump to any conclusions, it’s best to speak with your doctor to rule out any other conditions, because anxiety symptoms often mimic other medical conditions. Fortunately, anxiety disorders can be treated so that you can learn to manage your symptoms and get back to living your life.