Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting 40 million adults in the US each year. That is nearly 1 in 5 people! If you are one of those people, you know that anxiety can be debilitating. It can keep you from doing the things you love and from living a normal life. In this blog post, we will discuss chronic anxiety: what it is, how to identify it, and how to treat it.
What Is Chronic Anxiety?
People might experience anxiety in different ways and at different levels. For some, anxiety is a normal and even healthy emotion. But for others, anxiety can be chronic, meaning it lasts for a long time and gets in the way of daily life. In simple words, chronic anxiety is long-term anxiety, it is where someone experiences anxiety most days, for a period of six months or more.
Chronic anxiety can be debilitating and prevent people from going about their lives as they normally would. It is often believed to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Chronic anxiety can also be the result of trauma or a stressful event.
According to studies, this condition might be more common in women than men. It is also more common in people who have a family history of anxiety or other mental health conditions. However, anyone can experience this type of anxiety because of different reasons.
Therefore, if you are experiencing anxiety that is interfering with your life, it is important to seek help from a mental health professional. With proper treatment, you can manage your anxiety and live a full and happy life.
How Do I Know If My Anxiety Is Chronic?
If you’re wondering whether or not your anxiety is chronic, it’s important to understand the difference between acute and chronic anxiety. Acute anxiety is the kind of anxiety that everyone experiences from time to time. It’s usually caused by a specific event or situation, and it goes away once the event or situation has passed.
Chronic anxiety, on the other hand, is anxiety that lasts for an extended period of time. It can be caused by a variety of factors, and it often persists even after the event or situation has passed. If you’re experiencing chronic anxiety, you may feel like you’re in a constant state of worry or stress.
There are some common symptoms of chronic anxiety, including:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Feeling tired all the time
- Muscle tension
- Stomach problems
- Difficulty concentrating
The symptoms might seem small, but they can have a big impact on your life. And it might be difficult to differentiate chronic anxiety from other mental health disorders, however, if you’ve been experiencing anxiety for more than six months, it’s likely that you have chronic anxiety.
Therefore, if you feel like you might be struggling with chronic anxiety, it’s important to reach out for help. There are a number of treatment options available for chronic anxiety.
Is Chronic Anxiety A Mental Illness?
Usually, anxiety is considered a mental illness when it significantly interferes with someone’s ability to function in day-to-day life. When anxiety is chronic, or long-lasting, and especially when it’s accompanied by physical symptoms like a racing heart, sweating, or trembling, it can be extremely disabling.
Most people experience anxiety at some point in their lives – it’s a normal reaction to stress. But for some people, anxiety can become so constant and overwhelming that it interferes with their ability to lead normal lives. When this happens, it’s called an anxiety disorder. And this further can be a mental illness because it then disrupts daily activities and even routines.
Also, studies have found that chronic anxiety can take a toll on physical health. People with chronic anxiety are more likely to have headaches, gastrointestinal problems, and heart disease.
So, before it becomes a mental illness, chronic anxiety is a condition that should be taken seriously. There are many effective treatments available, so if you or someone you know is struggling with chronic anxiety, don’t hesitate to reach out for help.
What Causes Chronic Anxiety?
There are many possible causes of chronic anxiety, including:
- A family history of anxiety or other mental health disorders
- Traumatic experiences in childhood or adulthood
- Chronic stress from work, relationships, or other areas of life
- Certain medical conditions like thyroid problems or heart disease
- Use of certain substances like caffeine, alcohol, or drugs
These are possible causes of chronic anxiety, but it’s important to remember that everyone experiences anxiety in different ways. There is no one “cause” of chronic anxiety. It is often a combination of factors that come together to create anxiety symptoms.
Moreover, many people with chronic anxiety do not have any identifiable cause for their anxiety. This can make the condition even more confusing and difficult to manage. And it can even occur in people who have never experienced anxiety before. So, do not hesitate to reach out to a professional for an evaluation if you are feeling anxious for no apparent reason.
How To Diagnose It?
The diagnosis is made by a professional, usually, a psychiatrist, who will ask you questions about your symptoms and how they affect your life. They may also carry out some tests, such as checking your blood pressure or doing a brain scan.
Diagnosis is a complete procedure where the doctor will also ask about your medical history and whether any mental health conditions run in your family. They may also ask you about any stressful life events that have happened recently.
All of this information helps the doctor to understand whether your symptoms are due to an anxiety disorder or another condition. In fact, there are many conditions that can cause symptoms of anxiety, so it’s important to get a diagnosis from a professional.
Therefore, if you’re feeling anxious and it’s impacting your life, make an appointment to see your doctor. They may refer you to a mental health specialist for further assessment. With an accurate diagnosis, you will more likely to get the most effective treatment.
How To Treat Chronic Anxiety?
Once you have a diagnosis, your doctor will work with you to find the best treatment for you. This may involve medication, therapy, or a combination of both. Let’s discuss some of the most common treatment options for chronic anxiety.
Medication is often used to treat chronic anxiety. The most common type of medication used to treat anxiety is antidepressants. Antidepressants are a class of drugs that work by increasing levels of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that plays a role in mood and anxiety.
There are many different types of antidepressants, and the type that is best for you will depend on your symptoms and medical history. Some common antidepressants used to treat anxiety include:
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
- Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
- Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs)
- Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
Your doctor will work with you to find the best antidepressant for you. It may take a few tries to find the one that works best for you. Be patient and don’t give up.
When it comes to treating chronic anxiety, therapy is often the first line of defense. There are various types of therapy to choose from, so it’s important to find a therapist that you feel comfortable with and that specializes in treating anxiety. Some common types include:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): CBT is a type of therapy that focuses on changing negative thought patterns in order to change behavior.
- Exposure therapy: Exposure therapy involves gradually exposing oneself to the things one fears in a safe and controlled environment.
- Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT): DBT is a type of therapy that focuses on teaching skills to help people manage their emotions.
Therapy can be an effective treatment for chronic anxiety, but it’s important to find the right therapist and the right type of therapy for you. If you’re not sure where to start, ask your doctor or a mental health professional for a referral.
This is one way to find social support. There are many online and offline support groups that can provide emotional and practical help. A support group can also be a great way to meet others who understand what you’re going through.
Another way to find social support is to connect with friends and family. Let your loved ones know how anxiety affects you and how they can help. It can be helpful to have a few close friends or family members who you can rely on for support.
So, these are a few common professionals and social supports for people with anxiety. If you’re struggling with anxiety, know that you’re not alone and there are people who can help. Moreover, it’s important to seek professional help if your anxiety is impacting your day-to-day life. If you’re not sure where to start, talk to your doctor or mental health professional. They can help you find the resources and support you need.
Can Chronic Anxiety be Prevented?
As chronic anxiety is often caused by an underlying medical condition, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional to develop a treatment plan. While there is no sure way to prevent chronic anxiety, you can prevent some of the triggers by:
- Identifying and avoiding trigger situations: It is important to become aware of the situations or events that trigger your anxiety. Once you know what these triggers are, you can take steps to avoid them.
- Managing stress: Stress is a common trigger for anxiety. Learning how to manage stress can help reduce your risk of experiencing an anxiety attack.
- Getting regular exercise: Exercise has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety.
- Eating a healthy diet: Eating a balanced diet can help you feel better and cope with stress more effectively.
- Getting enough sleep: Sleep deprivation can trigger anxiety. Make sure to get at least seven to eight hours of sleep each night.
- Avoiding drugs and alcohol: Unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as substance abuse, can make anxiety worse. If you are struggling with anxiety, it is important to seek professional help.
These things can help prevent chronic anxiety. If you or someone you know is struggling with anxiety, please reach out for help. There are many resources available to you. You are not alone. However, you should remember that everyone experiences anxiety in different ways, so what works for one person may not work for another. It is important to find what works best for you and to stick with it.
To conclude, chronic anxiety is a real and serious problem. Many people suffer from it, and it can have a profound impact on their lives. If you think you might be suffering from chronic anxiety, please see a mental health professional for help. Chronic anxiety is treatable, and there are many resources available to assist you in managing your condition.
Just remember to be kind to yourself, and take things one day at a time. You got this! With proper treatment, people with chronic anxiety can lead happy and fulfilling lives.
For more tips and guidance, you can reach out to Therapy Mantra. The team of professional counselors is more than happy to help you in your journey to recovery. Contact us today to learn more about our services. You can also book an online therapy session or download our free Android or iOS app.