For at least one-fifth of US adults, anxiety becomes problematic. But only about a third of people with this common mental health disorder get professional help to treat their condition. This often happens when people don’t know the signs that it’s time to seek medical help.

At Potomac Shores Mental Health and Wellness, board-certified psychiatric nurse practitioner Nola Ayoola-Yussuf, PMHNP-BC, helps men and women manage many mental health disorders at her office in Woodbridge, Virginia, and through telehealth appointments for patients in Maryland, Colorado, New Hampshire, and Washington, DC. 

One of the most common conditions she treats is anxiety, which describes several conditions. The most common is generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). 

GAD causes you to worry excessively about everyday situations and issues and keeps your body in a nearly constant state of stress. When your body experiences stress, it releases stress hormones, namely adrenaline, noradrenaline, and cortisol. 

When you spend too much time in this state, your mental and physical health suffer. In addition to GAD, people can suffer from other types of anxiety, including:

  • Panic disorders
  • Phobias
  • Social anxiety disorder
  • Separation anxiety disorder
  • Agoraphobia

During your visit with Nola, she listens to your symptoms, reviews your medical and psychiatric history, and works with you to create a personalized treatment plan to help manage your condition. 

Nola also understands that it’s not always easy to know when it’s time to seek medical intervention, so we created this helpful guide. Keep reading to learn if your anxiety could benefit from professional help.

1. You feel worried all the time

Everyone experiences worry. But when you have anxiety, worrying moves to the next level. This is because anxiety takes over your normal thoughts. As a result, you start to feel like something — or everything — is wrong.

Anxiety is probably to blame if you start each morning feeling worried about the day or if these feelings come up regularly as you go about your normal activities. You may also experience feelings of impending doom or dread, even when things aren’t going badly.

2. You get panicked

Unmanaged anxiety may trigger feelings of panic. Panic can make you feel like your heart is racing or beating out of control. It can also make you more aware of your heartbeat, causing you to believe it’s beating faster, even when it’s not. 

Some people with anxiety get panic attacks. Panic attacks can feel like you’re having a heart attack and bring intense feelings of shortness of breath, lightheadedness, or a tight chest. You might also feel like your tongue is swollen or heavy.

3. You’re having sleep troubles

Sleep can be the only time you feel relief for some people with anxiety. This can cause you to sleep more than usual or look for ways to sleep longer, like drinking or taking sleeping aids.

For other people, anxiety can cause your brain to “race,” making it hard to fall asleep or stay asleep. That’s why many people with unmanaged anxiety struggle with insomnia. 

Unfortunately, sleep issues make your anxiety worse. If you’re struggling with sleep, it’s a sign your anxiety is problematic, and it’s time to seek help. 

4. You get shaky or tremble

Anxiety can trigger other physical symptoms, just as it causes a racing heart with panic disorders. One of the most common physical sensations associated with anxiety is getting shaky or trembling. 

If your legs feel wobbly or your hands shake for no clear reason, start by talking to your primary care provider. It’s important to rule out any underlying medical conditions. 

If there’s no physical reason for your symptoms, it could mean anxiety is the cause of your shaking or trembling. In this case, schedule an appointment with Nola at Potomac Shores Mental Health and Wellness. 

5. You just can’t focus

Anxiety affects your cognitive functioning or the way your brain works. One of the biggest effects impacts your ability to focus. Anxious thoughts are distracting, and concentrating becomes even more challenging if you experience the symptoms above with anxious thoughts.

If your anxiety makes it hard to focus, or if you can’t concentrate on completing your work or school tasks in a reasonable amount of time, come to Potomac Shores Mental Health and Wellness for professional help.

Help managing anxiety

At Potomac Shores Mental Health and Wellness, Nola offers a variety of treatments for anxiety. The proper treatment depends on your symptoms, overall health, and preferences. The following modalities are the primary treatment for anxiety:

  • Making lifestyle changes (e.g., meditation)
  • Talk therapy/counseling
  • Medications to control the chemical effects of anxiety 

For more information about anxiety or to schedule a consultation, contact Potomac Shores Mental Health and Wellness online or over the phone.

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