What’s Normal? Everyone experiences anxiety—it’s a helpful emotion for many people.
The problem is when anxiety becomes your “normal:” when constant worry erodes away all of your other emotions.
It’s definitely hard to define normal. Doctors have trouble doing it while diagnosing anxiety disorders and researchers are still struggling with the mental and physical profiles of people with anxiety problems.
Take a look at these 7 signs of anxiety disorder.
1. Excessive Worry
Excessive worry is the predominate sign of anxiety disorder. The question, however, is how much worry is too much? What exactly qualifies as excessive?
The answer is hard to pin down, but researchers point out that if worry is a default activity during a state of relaxation, it’s a good sign that you have Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Consider a study published in the academic journal Behaviour Research and Therapy that suggests a correlation between anxiety disorder and avoidance of emotional imagery during relaxation—instead focusing predominately on worry.
2. Sleep Problems
Sleep disruptions or trouble falling asleep are another important sign of an anxiety disorder. According to one study, both sleep laboratory and epidemiological analysis shows that insomnia is one of the most common signs of psychiatric disorders, particularly Generalized Anxiety Disorder. In fact, according to researchers and psychologists, anxiety disorder is likely the most common cause of insomnia.
3. Health Phobia
Health phobia—or hypochondriasis—might actually be the sign of an anxiety disorder. If you are constantly worried about your health and frequently diagnosing yourself with new symptoms and diseases you might actually have a treatable anxiety disorder. Take a look at recent research published in the British Journal of Psychiatry that discusses the connection between anxiety disorder and health phobia.
4. Muscle Tension
You might think that anxiety disorder is difficult to diagnose because it is related to brain function and thoughts. Doctors agree and researchers are working on new objective testing protocols to test for anxiety-related psychological disorders. One recent analysis of testing techniques utilized electro-myographic (EMG) readings to determine muscle activity and its relationship to anxiety. In simple terms, if you are experiencing muscle tension, you might have an anxiety disorder.
5. Chronic Indigestion
Anxiety disorders can manifest themselves in a variety of physical symptoms. A study titled “Associations between anxiety disorders and physical illness” investigated the link. In addition to digestive problems, anxiety disorders are also correlated with cardiac problems and migraine. Indigestion and migraine might be the easiest symptoms to pick up on, especially if they are occurring with any of the other symptoms mentioned here.
6. Stage Fright
Social phobia is actually a type of anxiety disorder and might point toward disorders beyond simple stage fright. Consider looking at an article published in the academic journal Archives of General Psychiatry that discusses social phobia as the “neglected anxiety disorder.” The article acknowledges that social phobia is often lumped into generalized anxiety disorder—researchers argue that it should be considered its own type of disorder. The truth is, however, that many people who have stage fright exhibit other symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder.
The desire to be perfect has long been tied to generalized anxiety disorder along with obsessive-compulsive disorder. The best analysis of the link between OCD, perfectionism, and anxiety is a recent study published by the American Psychological Association that details four areas of anxiety disorder research and their link to anxiety.