Anxiety: How to Tell What’s Normal and What’s Not

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Anxiety is a normal part of life. People worry when they’re under stress, for instance, when pulled over by the police or before taking an exam. Some people, however, can be severely anxious that they’re not able to go about their daily activities, make decisions, or even move out of their beds. This is what qualifies as not normal.

When Anxiety Becomes Serious

A psychiatrist in Westport, CT explains that severe and debilitating anxiety is a disorder. And the two factors that determine if what you’re experiencing is normal anxiety or anxiety disorder are interference and severity.

On interference, normal anxiety wouldn’t keep you from doing routines on a daily basis, but an anxiety disorder would. It can also sometimes dictate your decisions in career or education. For instance, it’s normal to feel anxious when riding on a plane, but if you’ve resigned from your job because it requires you to fly occasionally, then that may be a sign of an anxiety disorder.

Another factor that distinguishes anxiety from anxiety disorders is severity. If the uneasiness you’re feeling dies down as you do that task you’re feeling anxious about, it’s probably normal anxiety. But if you’re feeling uneasy all the time that it makes you paralyzed or tired, you may have to consult a psychiatrist.

Different Faces of Anxiety Disorder

Anxiety disorder can take on different forms. A common condition is panic disorder. Patients suffering from this problem experience being tensed even at random occasions. They sweat, experience chest pain, and hyperventilate during panic attacks.

Social anxiety disorder is another type. People struggling with this condition are overly self-conscious when they’re in typical social situations. There’s a heightened perception that they’re being judged or they feel that they’ll be embarrassed all the time.

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Anxiety is normal, as long as it doesn’t interfere with your daily activities and it fades over time. But if it prevents you from doing what you usually do and you see sudden changes in your body, it’s probably worth visiting a mental health professional to know exactly what’s going on and how you can address the problem moving forward.