We all go through stressful situations in life, and sometimes these become too much for us to handle. It is very normal for us to feel anxious when faced with a challenging situation (like when I am at a job interview, a first date, or even back in college – when I had to sit through a really tough exam). However, when the fear and worry becomes too overwhelming and starts affecting how we deal with daily life, it may be something more serious that requires attention.
Today’s society overuses the terms “anxiety”, “depression” and even “nervous breakdown”, making it difficult for us to correctly identify when these cases are actually happening. This is why it is very important to learn about these anxiety disorders and to be able to act on them as soon as the first signs show up. As doctors often tell us, early detection equals an early treatment. Let’s discuss the symptoms of anxiety, depression and nervous breakdown.
This is not necessarily a negative thing. Anxiety is the body’s way of responding to danger. Think of it like your body’s alarm system which goes off when there is a threat nearby, or when there is too much pressure or stress. If experienced in moderation, it can be a good and healthy thing. It helps us stay alert and focused on priorities. For some, it can even motivate problem solving and action. But then again, once anxiety becomes a constant part of life, it starts affecting our activities and relationships. When this happens, we know we’ve crossed a line from normal to an anxiety disorder. So how do we know when the line is crossed?
Below are the different emotional and physical symptoms of severe anxiety:
– Initially, there is excessive worry and fear
– Feeling of dread or apprehension
– Difficulty concentrating on tasks
– Feeling “jumpy” and tense
– Waiting for the worst to happen
– Irritability and restlessness
– Anticipating for signs of danger
– Getting a feeling of your mind going “blank”
– Pounding heart
– Stomach upset and/or diarrhea
– Frequent urination
– Tremors and twitches
– Shortness of breath
– Muscle tension
What about anxiety attacks? We often hear people using this term – but what is its difference from the symptoms of anxiety mentioned above? Anxiety attacks, or panic attacks, are short-term episodes of intense fear or panic. These happen to us without warning. Most times, there are obvious triggers which cause them (for instance, thinking of standing in front of a huge crowd to give a speech makes me get a panic attack, for others, this can be triggered by getting stuck in an elevator alone) but sometimes the episodes just happen out of nowhere. The attacks peak around ten minutes’ time and seldom last over half an hour. Even during this short period of time, the terros can be so intense that a person gets a feeling of a total loss of control. Some even feel like they are going to die. And when the attack is over, you can’t help but feel worried about getting another attack – especially in public places without available help and no escape routes.
Because of the intensity of anxiety attacks, a lot mistake them for symptoms of heart attacks. To equip yourself with better understanding, below are the signs and symptoms of anxiety attacks.
– An intense surge of panic
– Feeling like you’re going crazy and losing control
– Chest pain and/or heart palpitations
– Feeling like passing out
– Sensations of choking and/or trouble with breathing
– Trembling, shaking and chills
– Feeling “unreal” and detached
– Stomach cramps and nausea
We all get depressed – sometimes it’s nothing more than the regular blues and loneliness. This feeling is another normal reaction to life’s events (like when I lost a loved one, or when my dad lost his job and we had to go through a really rough patch for a whole year). However, when the depression becomes too overwhelming and stays that way for extended periods of time, a normal and active life might be rendered impossible to have. This is a good example of clinical depression, which requires us to ask for professional medical assistance.
Below are the symptoms of depression, as identified by the National Institute of Mental Health.
– Trouble with concentration
– Difficulty in making decisions and remembering details
– Fatigue and low levels of energy
– Feeling guilty, worthless and/or helpless
– Waking up really early in the morning
– Insomnia OR excessive sleeping
– Restlessness and irritability
– No interest with activities and hobbies (which were previously pleasurable), including sex
– Loss of appetite OR overeating
– Persistent aches and pains (headaches, digestive problems, cramps) which do not go away with usual treatment
– Persistent feelings of sadness, anxiety and “emptiness”
– Ideations of suicide and/or suicide attempts
How often have I heard someone shout “Oh my, she’s having a nervous breakdown!” when the person isn’t really having a nervous breakdown? Too many times. In reality, a nervous breakdown is when a person reaches the point of exhaustion after a prolonged period of experiencing anxiety (maybe related to financial, health, work or relationship problems, or a combination). When the anxiety, stress and depression becomes too overwhelming, you get a sense of helplessness and extreme exhaustion – as if you will not be able to deal with life (and for some, they cannot even get out of their beds). The circumstances are different for each person. Sometimes, just one event (a death or job loss, for example) is enough to trigger the build up of exhaustion and stress. In addition, the person is likely to stop eating and sleeping properly which in the long run only results to even more exhaustion. To be able to better deal with these cases (whether for yourself or someone else), it’s good to understand the signs early on.
Below are the symptoms of a nervous breakdown:
– Loss of sexual drive
– Loss of appetite and interest in food
– Loss of enjoyment in work, hobbies and life in general
– Feeling guilty and pathetic for feeling the way they do
– Feeling of being alone
– Feeling of desperation
– Feeling like the littlest tasks are too difficult and exhausting
– Being impatient with themselves
– Loss of confidence
– Fear that another breakdown will happen after one has happened.
Now that you’re familiar with the symptoms of anxiety, depression and nervous breakdown, you can be more confident with dealing with life’s stresses and challenges. However, if things get too overwhelming, it’s still best to get help from health care professionals. Also, the support of loved ones – family and friends – can go a long way in dealing with such anxiety disorders.
This article was provided by Carl Shaw from Followersboosts.com, we specialize in social media promotion to our clients, but our writers write on a wide range of topics that interest them. Thank you for taking the time to read our article and we hope it has been useful to you.
Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/h-k-d/3685379062/