When is worry more than just that? Worry is a part of life. Worrying about miscommunication in a relationship, worrying about a task that needs to be completed, or worrying about health issues. Many people wonder if their worries are simply that– worries, or if they are indicative of something more, such as an anxiety disorder. So what are the differences between worry and a full-blown anxiety disorder and what options are there for anxiety treatment?
It is normal to worry about a concerning situation such as the outcome of a medical test or the safety of a loved one who is traveling. These are unavoidable events in life, yet they naturally cause worry at times. Anxiety, on the other hand, is what happens when the worry becomes an obstacle in life and keeps one from attending to their normal work or social activities.
Another difference between worry and a more significant anxiety disorder is that worry tends to be related to just a small number of events rather than a broad range of situations or concerns. It also doesn’t last very long. In the case of generalized anxiety disorder, the worry is excessively prolonged for more than six months.
There are other indicators that also differentiate between normal worry and anxiety:
With Generalized Anxiety Disorder:
- The worry is uncontrollable and involves many areas of life as opposed to just one or two.
- Symptoms are prolonged, lasting more than six months
- There is often sense of dread or impending doom
- Difficulty relaxing and focusing on other aspects of life
- Difficulty getting motivated
- Difficulty sleeping
- A feeling of restlessness or nervousness
Take for example the case of Jim. Jim has always considered himself a worrier. However, over the course of the past six months, he has been consumed by worry. He cannot sleep at night and struggles to make himself go to work. Once at work, he finds it difficult to focus on his tasks at hand and as a result, gets little to no work done. His stomach is tense all of the time and he is now struggling with bowel problems. Even reaching out for help seems to be a challenging hurdle.
Anxiety Disorders Association of America states, “Anxiety disorders are the most common psychiatric illnesses affecting children and adults. An estimated 40 million American adults suffer from anxiety disorders. Only about one-third of those suffering from an anxiety disorder receive treatment, even though the disorders are highly treatable.” There are a number of therapies that have shown to be very effective in the treatment of anxiety. Among the many anxiety treatment options is EMDR therapy, which helps to identify the root of the anxiety and address it in a way that will facilitate a reduction in the intensity of the worry. Ultimately it can help clients to establish healthier, more productive behaviors and thought patterns.
Because anxiety disorders are highly treatable, why suffer? If you suspect you may be suffering from one, it is well worth seeking help from a qualified professional so that you can reclaim your happiness.