Anxiety is very common. You probably know someone in your life that has an anxiety disorder in some form. Anxiety accounts for more than 3 million cases in the United States alone. Since it is one of the more common mental health conditions, it can be easy to overlook your symptoms as just “not that bad” or “everyone feels this way”. You may even have people in your life that downplay your symptoms too by saying things like “oh c’mon, Man up. Everyone feels nervous.” or “You really just need to take a chill pill” (Chill pills are fantastic and I am sure if this person had them prescribed he would be taking one for Christ’s Sake!)
I felt like that for many years. I went through middle school, high school and college with untreated anxiety, panic disorder and PTSD. Think of it this way, if I had just told you that I had untreated liver disease for 15 years (liver disease also accounts for 3 million cases a year in the United States), you would probably think “You should probably get to your nearest hospital..like now..like stop writing and get in the ER.” Right? That’s because we treat mental health issues very differently. We STILL think of them as choices and not as serious psychiatric and medical conditions that can be life altering and life threatening. Mental Illnesses are NOT a choice. Read up on my blog post alllll about it.
Interested in how genetics factor into anxiety disorders? Check out this article from EveryDayHealth
Types of Anxiety Disorders & Symptoms
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder – lack of concentration, fear, worry, unwanted thoughts, irritability
- Social Anxiety – worry of social situations, worry about being embarrassed, fear of offending someone
- Specific Phobias – the object or situation provokes intense fear, avoids situations that object or situation could be in
- Panic Disorder – shortness of breath, feeling of choking, dizziness, racing heart beat
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – compulsive behaviors, obsessive thoughts, impulsive
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – Fear, anxiety, mistrust, hypervigilance
This is not an all inclusive list and I am not a mental health expert, but this list gives some good insight to the risk factors related to all anxiety disorders.
I am not sure if I have genetic risk factors or not. I don’t come from a family where we talk about mental illness or mental health. They sure as shit talk about obesity though (*eye roll* #BodyPositivity) I know that my grandmother had agoraphobia and a hoarding disorder. I could safely assume she had some social anxiety and generalized anxiety as well. (Yes, I went to Google for Med School). Mental Illness, My First Memory I think that with anything, my anxiety stems from a mix of genetics and environmental factors. I have had a lot of sexual and relationship based trauma. I did not have great coping skills. This is what I am made up of but I work hard to get better everyday.
For me, I knew that my symptoms were out of control when I had multiple people in my life telling me that my worries were not normal. I crossed over from typical worries like “I worry that this presentation won’t go well” to “I believe everyone is lying to me” and extreme irritability when I was anxious. I downplayed my symptoms for years and didn’t really think much would help anyway.
Could You Be Ignoring Your Symptoms?
Like with any medical or mental condition, it is important to talk to your doctor. Use your quiz results from above to start the conversation with your doctor. It can be difficult to talk with a psychiatrist for the first time. Sometimes you just feel like saying “Hi. Yeah. I don’t feel good, HELP!” But..they’ll need a bit more information from you, so bring these quizzes along.
These are not conditions you can “pray away” or exercise your way out of. These conditions are not cured by some at home green juice remedy your grandma whips up in her kitchen. Do I think mental health conditions can be helped by improved diet choices? Sure. There is a lot of research about the brain and gut connection. Am I a supporter of diet culture? Nope.
Anxiety disorders are serious mental health conditions that should be taken seriously (just like liver disease and cancer!).
Interested in talking with a Psychiatrist? Click Here to find one in your area!
Want my opinion on medications for anxiety disorders? Check out it out here