Am I Anxious?

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

I am terrified for my health, and I always worry about it. If there is something even slightly wrong with my body then I worry about it. For example, headaches and I immediately think I have a tumor or something. Chest pain and I think I’m having a heart attack. Stomach pain and I think I’m having an appendicitis, and the list goes on. I find it hard to sleep at night as I am always aware of my heartbeat and find it hard to get enough air, I’m sure it’s anxiety because it only seems to happy at night when I’m thinking about it. I am terrified when I go to the doctors and hospitals, like I’m always scared as to what they’re going to say and what they will find out via tests and stuff. My heart is racing whenever I’m in a doctors surgery. I also have very bad performance anxiety (as I do A2 music so have to perform a lot) but I don’t know if that is related at all. I cannot perform as well as I do when I practice as I’m just too scared. I also do tend to worry about random day to day stuff, such as talking in front of people. Do I have anxiety? And what can I do about it? I want to talk to people about it but I feel silly and childish.

A. Based on the description of your symptoms, anxiety may be the most likely explanation. Persons with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) feel anxious about many things rather than any one thing in particular. Many people with GAD can function at a relatively high level when their anxiety is mild. However, it still interferes with their lives. It decreases their quality of life. Symptoms also tend to be more severe in times of stress.

Anxiety might be the problem but it’s important to recognize that only an in-person mental health evaluation could definitely determine a diagnosis.

You should never feel “silly and childish” about seeking help for anxiety. You would not feel silly and childish if you had an aching tooth and went to see a dentist. Most people realize that they should see a specialist for their dental problems. They never feel foolish for needing a dentist. They don’t think “my tooth hurts and I should know what is wrong and how to fix it.” Most people don’t think that way about needing dental work. Nor should they think that way about needing to consult a mental health professional for psychological problems.

Anxiety tends to grow progressively worse over time. Left untreated, it can be quite debilitating. However, very effective treatments exist for anxiety. Because anxiety is one of the most common mental health problems, it can be relatively easy to treat with the right therapy and medication. Research studies have shown that cognitive behavioral therapy is one of the best types of psychotherapy for anxiety disorders. Medications often begin working right away and can lead to instant relief of symptoms.

I hope you will reconsider seeking treatment. When psychological problems arise, it’s always wise and efficient to consult a mental health professional. They want to help you and they have the expertise to do so.

With the right treatment, you can eliminate anxiety from your life. There’s no reason to continue to tolerate a life disrupted by anxiety when effective treatments exist. It’s simply unnecessary. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 18 Dec 2013

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2013). Am I Anxious?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 28, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2013/12/18/am-i-anxious/