Normal Anxiety, or Troublesome Anxiety?

Anxiety has become a more frequent part of our everyday life. With the increase in violence in schools, precautions on how to keep our children safe from strangers, daily news reports of murder, fears of terrorism, and all the attention on global warming, it is no wonder anxiety disorders are the most common of all the mental health disorders.

But how can we determine what is normal anxiety versus troublesome anxiety?

Here are two lists of examples of how both normal and troublesome anxiety can manifest. Hopefully these examples will help you determine if you are experiencing some normal anxiety as part of a life adjustment or change and when you would be experiencing anxiety that has gotten out of control. The key in identifying troublesome anxiety is if it causes significant impairment and distress in social or occupational settings.

Normal Anxiety Symptoms: Situation can develop in:
Jitteriness Performing a sports event
Embarrassment Falling in front of others
Self-consciousness New social situation or meeting new people
Nervousness or butterflies Giving a speech
Worry about health Finding an enlarged gland in neck
Thoughts keeping you from sleep Overburdened work week and family events
Increase in heart rate Fear of driving when weather is bad


Troublesome Anxiety Symptoms: Situation can develop in:
Constant worry No real situation, in any situation not connected
Significant physical distress Daily work requirements and fear of failure
Avoidance of public places Any social place (grocery store, mall, dentist)
Sense of impending doom Going to doctor for a routine visit
Panic attacks Any situation, may not seem to be connected
Difficulty concentrating No particular event, but usually happens in places you need to pay attention
Unable to sleep or frequent waking Trying to sleep, occurs almost nightly
Restlessness or feeling "keyed up"
Could happen in any situation
Irritable bowel Any situation that stimulates stress/anxiety (i.e. work, thinking of financial worries, home)
Racing thoughts Usually at night in bed, but sometimes during day
Fears of dying When having a number of stressors, driving, or during sleep

To begin getting a handle on your anxiety call Karen now at 920-884-1145. 

Karen will help you learn to cope with, manage, and decrease your symptoms of anxiety. You don’t need to live with these sometimes debilitating symptoms. Some treatment techniques include, relaxation, breathing, and EMDR.