Do You Worry Too Much?

When worry crosses into an anxiety disorder

Posted Nov 26, 2014

Worried woman on a plane

So many people worry about so many things in so many ways. When is it just someone’s personality? When is a fear justified? When is anxiety way out of proportion? Is it just you? Just how prevalent is worry? According to the National Institutes of Health, almost forty million American adults suffer from an anxiety disorder. An anxiety disorder isn’t a temporary concern over a stressful situation, like meeting your future in-laws for the first time or making a presentation at work. Anxiety disorders show themselves by a couple of characteristics: they don’t go away, and, left untreated, they get progressively worse. 

Just as people are unique, with different characteristics, so are anxiety disorders. There are five identified anxiety disorders:

  1. Generalized anxiety disorder
  2. Panic attacks
  3. Phobias, including social phobia or social anxiety disorder
  4. Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  5. Post-traumatic stress disorder 

According to the Mayo Clinic, here are some of the primary symptoms that may mean you are suffering from an anxiety disorder:

  • Feeling nervous
  • Feeling powerless
  • Having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom
  • Having an increased heart rate
  • Breathing rapidly (hyperventilation)
  • Sweating
  • Trembling
  • Feeling weak or tired
  • Trouble concentrating or thinking about anything other than the present worry

One of the effects of an anxiety disorder is a sense of isolation. Sometimes people think they’re going crazy, lost in a bizarre world where none of the pieces seem to fit right, resulting in a constant grinding and tension to life. For many people who suffer from anxiety, there is a sense of humiliation, a conviction that others will negatively judge either their inability to cope or their convoluted coping strategies they’ve devised merely to get through each day.

While each person uniquely experiences anxiety, fear, and worry, it is powerful when people can see themselves as not alone, understanding that others share a similar, if not identical, experience. No, it’s not just you, and no, you’re not crazy. Moreover, there are many professionals equipped to help treat anxiety disorder, and help you achieve peace and balance again.

Gregory L. Jantz, PhD is the founder of The Center • A Place of HOPE and an internationally recognized best selling author of 28 books related to mental wellness and holistic recovery treatment.