You’re with your friends about to stroll down Wynwood for Art Walk and you notice your heart racing, your palms start getting sweaty, and your breathe is becoming more and more shallow. You look around but your friends are fine. They are laughing, everyone is safe but you can’t seem to relax. Could it be anxiety or are you nervous for a night out?
Anxiety VS. Nerves
Anxiety and nerves feel very similar however, the biggest difference between the two are the triggers that cause one or the other.
In the example above, let’s say you didn’t take any drugs or drink alcohol yet you feel internal tension and that is different than the environment around you. When you look around everyone is having fun, checking out some cool art, and going with the flow. No one is panicking or removing themselves from an unsafe situation. Prior to that, you didn’t feel this way when you found out about the event or even on the car ride to Wynwood yet out of no where you began to feel extremely worried. This is anxiety.
On the other hand when you are feeling nervous, there is an actual event prior to feeling nervous (i.e. presentation, public speaking) that caused your heart to race, your palms to get sweaty, and your breathe to shorten.
Biologically we need a little bit of both nerves and anxiety to survive however, when it begins to interfere with your overall quality of life (ex. Avoiding certain situations repetitively, staying home more than often due to fear, etc.) is when it becomes detrimental to your emotional health which than impacts your social, academic, and physical health.
Signs of Anxiety
Anxiety looks different on everyone but there are some similarities with signs of feeling anxious. Here are a few signs:
- Constantly worried – looking over your back, feeling tensed, uneasy.
- Nausea – feeling of throwing up or needing to use the restroom
- Sweating – Palms, armpits, back, etc.
- Heart racing – Rapid heart racing
- Negative thoughts – worst case scenario thinking
- Appetite issues – over or under eating
- Avoiding specific situations repetitively
- Low energy
As mentioned above, everyone displays feelings of anxiety differently but no one sign of anxiety mentioned is considered to have a diagnosis of Anxiety Disorder.
Anxiety still remains as one of the top concerns as to why a person seeks therapy. Based on a report in 2017, according to the Center for Collegiate Mental Health, 1 in 5 college students have anxiety or depression. Here are a couple reason why:
During your college years, you are more likely to experiment with drugs and alcohol due to the college parties/college nights at your local bar. Being exposed and consuming a large amount of alcohol or trying new drugs can impact your mood.
For example, we all know that alcohol is a depressant and if you are having a bad day or week or year it can exacerbate those negative emotions. While on the other hand, you may be experimenting to fit in which also go against of who you really are and can also increase anxiety. Overall, trying to balance your academics and social life is difficult enough without anxiety but when you add the external factors such as alcohol and drugs it can increase any mental health condition including anxiety.
If you’re starting a new job or moving to a completely new state, transitions no matter how small or big can cause anxiety. The unknown of what to expect or how to get from point A to point B can be stressful especially when you don’t plan ahead OR you plan ahead and things don’t go as planned.
Pressure to Perform
Whether you’re just starting college or 5 years into your career, there is always pressure to perform a little better than you did the semester or quarter before. In both situations we are faced with projects and reports.
In order to determine growth, we are evaluated by our work through either our grades or an annual evaluation at your job. Although others in your school or job may be resilient to these stressors or have a better grip on things, if there is no self care in place, situations like those can increase anxiety and worry.
During high levels of stress or transitions, food can be comforting. Whether you are over-eating or underrating it can trigger anxiety as your body is not receiving the proper nutrition. The food we put in our body is what feeds our muscles and also our brain function. When we don’t provide the proper nutrition, our body and mind needs to overwork to eliminate and decompose of unhealthy fats.
Being restless or not getting sufficient sleep can impact your emotions. It may cause you to be more irritable and more likely to react vs. respond. This may trigger your anxiety because your mind is more likely to worry first before thinking logically and rationally.
History of Abuse
If you have been exposed to any mental, physical, or sexual abuse anxiety can be common. In certain situations you would know if you have anxiety because you would either avoid the situations or certain words, movements, or physical touching can become a trigger.
You will also have uncomfortable yet regular beliefs systems such as: “Good things never happen to me” or “Nobody will ever love me.”
Trauma is defined very different for everyone as our resilient levels are all unique. Therefore, what one thing may be traumatic for one person may not be for another and vic versa. For example, there are some people who unfortunately have experienced abuse but not all abuse can be traumatic. Which means, even what others may think is minuscule to you it may have been a traumatic experience such as moving to a new city with no support system.
Being exposed to traumatic event(s) can increase anxiety. Similar to having history of abuse, you will also be aware it is anxiety because you will avoid certain activities, have constant bursts of negative emotions, or experience a panic attack.
There is good news!
There are various amounts of treatment for anxiety and they come in different forms to fit everyone’s needs.
Acupunture, yoga, vitamins, essential oils and many other holistic remedies help alleviate symptoms of anxiety. Finding a homeopathic doctor to assist you in the best option for you is another option. Similar to medication, results are best seen when in congruent with therapy as is covers the underlying layers that have caused you to feel anxious.
Numerous medications help those suffering from anxiety. Consult with your doctor as all medications to treat anxiety need prescription and go congruent with therapy.
Finding a professional therapist near your area is important. When finding your therapist ensure you have a connection and can relate as you want to be as honest as possible throughout your therapeutic process.
Within the scope of therapy there are different practices of therapy to help alleviate anxiety. The most common is CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) but there are other numerous practice. Therefore, ask the professional therapist you contacted what kind of therapy practice do they have and ask for details what that looks like.
At Bloom Sooner we get a feel for our client and see what therapy practice best fits them. Overall, we practice from a Solution Focused stand point which focuses on your strengths and the moments you were able to overcome anxiety. However, this practice fits bests with most, it is not for everyone and we understand that. Therefore, there are other practices such as CBT and Narrative therapy. To find out more about our practices, please contact 786-519-4375 or fill out your contact info at www.bloomsooner.com/contactus.
According to the Department of Psychology Community Clinic at the University of North Carolina, in a recent research over 60% of clients who participated in CBT Therapy showed significant improvement in the overall anxiety symptoms.
All material on this website are designed for educational and informational purpose only. This website does not constitute medical advice or professional services. The information provided here should not be used for the purposes of diagnosis or treating a medical or psychiatric illness. The primary goal is providing educational material on this website to help children, teenagers, and families make an informed decision about the services and approach Bloom Sooner offers. It is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have in regards to a medical condition. Do not disregard medical advice from your physician or health care provider because of what you read on our website. If you are in need of a mental health professional please seek a Licensed clinician. If you or your child is experiencing any mental health or physical crisis, contact 911.