Much has been said these days about depression. You do not have to wait very long when watching TV before a commercial for the latest antidepressant medication fills the screen. But anxiety, another relatively common mental health concern, gets little press. Yet, millions of people will experience anxiety at some point in the lives.
Symptoms of Anxiety
Anxiety can be debilitating. It is primarily characterized by excessive worry, the kind that interrupts or prevents your sleep and seems to take over your life. This worry occurs more days than not and is difficult, if not seemingly impossible, to control.
People with anxiety feel restless or “keyed up.” They describe being “on edge” or “wound too tightly” or “high strung.” Because so much energy is needed to worry for weeks or months or even years on end, folks with anxiety are often exhausted. This extreme fatigue leads to an inability to focus or concentrate and in many cases, causes irritability.
Other anxiety symptoms include nausea, jitteriness, racing heart, a “lump in the throat” feeling, and sweating. Escalating anxiety can lead to panic, accompanied by chest pains and a feeling of suffocation, because severe anxiety sufferers unconsciously hold their breath or breathe too shallowly. They may even think they are having a heart attack–very distressing indeed!
In addition to these symptoms, anxiety also causes muscle tension and