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Anxiety - When Should I Get Help?

Everyone feels anxious at times.  Anxiety can be good.  It is the biological mechanism in our brain that can remind us about important details and to perhaps worry about  things we know we should be giving more attention.   Anxiety becomes a problem when it negatively effects our lives more than it should. Difficulties with anxiety can range from overly stressful reactions to specific problems or generalized anxiety wherein one worries about a lot of different things daily and there always seems  something else to be anxious about.  Anxiety can take the form of both psychological and physical symptoms.  Panic attacks are a type of anxiety that can produce severe physical reactions and some people protect themselves from feeling intense anxiety by increasingly isolating themselves.   Being overly obsessive in thought, compulsive in behavior or perfectionist may also be a symptom of anxiety.  The symptoms noted below are often expressed by people who struggle with anxiety. There are no right or wrong answers.  What is important is whether you feel collectively the symptoms you noted are creating a problem for you in your daily living.  Treatment for problematic anxiety is quite good.  Through therapy, most people can find a great deal of help both in reducing their anxiety symptoms and learning how to have more fulfilling lives.

_____  1.  I feel more tense or nervous than I would like.

_____  2.  I can feel anxious even when I cannot think of why I should feel so anxious.

_____  3.  I avoid activities or social situations I like because they make me feel anxious more than I am uncomfortable.

_____ 4.  When I get anxious I am more likely to feel symptoms such as dizziness, shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat, nervous stomach or other unexplained physical problems.

_____  5.  I feel an unusual degree of shakiness or nervousness.

_____  6.  I get upset too easily and can feel panicky unexpectedly.

_____  7.  I feel like I am too obsessive , compulsive or a perfectionist .

_____  8. I feel like I am generally anxious all the time or much more than what I would like.

_____  9. Because of my anxiety I don’t like being alone.

_____ 10.  My anxiety makes me feel too dependent and vulnerable in relationships.

_____ 11. There is a history of anxiety in my family or myself when I was young.

_____ 12.  I don’t fall asleep easily or stay asleep, my mind cannot relax, and I sometimes have nightmares related to what I worry about.

By: Jim Harris, LCSW, CAADC

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