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How to Recognize Anxiety in Others *Guest Post*

How to Recognize Anxiety in Others
By Alek S.

Around 18% of the population in the United States suffer from some sort of anxiety disorder. This amounts to over 40 million adults! That means that in your circle of friends, family, and acquaintances, you probably know a good number of people who struggle with anxiety and depression. Anxiety disorders can have a powerful effect on daily life, causing strained relationships, thwarted ambitions, and significant daily distress. Anxiety disorders are very treatable, yet less than a third of individuals ever receive treatment.

The reason for this is the case is that so many people with anxiety feel like they can just work through it, and there isn’t enough motivation to make them step out of their comfort zone to seek treatment. For this reason, it is incredibly important to be able to recognize anxiety in your friends and family, so that they can get the treatment they need to get better…

Look for poor coping behaviors

One dangerous thing about anxiety disorders is how they can lead to other problems in life. For example, it is very common for people who struggle with an anxiety disorder to also develop depression, at some point in their life. Because of this fact, around 50% of people with depression also have a separate anxiety disorder. Anxiety can also have a profound effect on people’s behavior in the ways that they choose to cope with anxiety.

A major reason to go to treatment for anxiety is to develop coping skills that are healthy and productive. Alternatively, some people who suffer from anxiety disorders will self medicate in dangerous ways. For example, generalized anxiety disorder and alcoholism go hand-in-hand far too oftenfar too often. If you see a friend traits of anxiety start to lead down a path of alcohol or substance abuse, encourage them to get help, immediately.

Look for physical effects of anxiety

In addition to its mental effects, anxiety also has physical factors to look for. Anxiety makes people’s muscles tense up, regularly. This muscle tension can make a person recognizably wound up and jittery. Nervous energy and tension need to find a way out of the body, so people with anxiety often shake or need to move their feet or hands in a tapping motion to get this energy out. Anxiety also causes consistent pain in the chest area. If someone you know frequently mentions having pains in their chest or heart, it could be related to hormone overloads that anxiety causes to rush into the body.

Sleep deprivation is often linked with anxiety

Various studies, including one by the Psychiatric Times, have charted the link between anxiety disorders and insomnia. Many people who suffer from anxiety disorders also inherently have trouble sleeping at night. The reason for this is similar to the reason for other physical effects of anxiety. Anxiety causes your body to release adrenaline, needlessly, which puts your mind into a fight or flight mode that makes it difficult to relax and rest. If your friend or family member struggles with sleep deprivation, regularly, then it might be a good idea to think about why this is.

Struggles with emotional perception

People with anxiety disorders struggle a lot with the ability to recognize their own emotions. A rather new concept that gets talked about a lot today, in psychology, is emotional intelligence. Simply put, emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize emotions in others, and to recognize and manage them in yourself. In an anxiety disorder, it can be difficult to isolate the cause for our feelings, and the proper way to handle those feelings. Often, this leads to anxiety being played out in potentially harmful ways, like misdirection, people-pleasing behaviors, self-blame, and avoidance. Fortunately, emotional intelligence, and the ability to recognize and control stressors, can be developed. This articleThis article has some helpful tips.

Anxiety shows itself in different ways for everyone

Every person is different, and anxiety disorders include a very wide range of problems, from OCD to agoraphobia. In any case, it’s important to recognize a disorder for what it is. From the outside, it can be hard to understand why your friend or loved one can’t simply relax and let things be. Anxiety disorders can be terribly scary and painful, and often people aren’t able to simply hush their anxieties alone. Untreated, severe anxiety disorders can manifest in addiction, self-harm, severe depression, and perfectionism. The journey to overcoming an anxiety disorder can be long, but ultimately, it’s wonderful for people who have accepted anxiety as the norm to realize that there’s a better way.

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