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Normal Nerves Vs. Anxiety Disorders: When to Seek Support

Mar 07, 2023
Normal Nerves Vs. Anxiety Disorders: When to Seek Support
There are situations for all of us when things get tense and we become nervous, but there’s a difference between that and having an anxiety disorder. And knowing which you’re dealing with can allow you to get the help you need.

From uncomfortable situations to immediate threats to your health, there are numerous reasons we on occasion deal with nervousness and anxiety. These feelings are ways we respond to stressful situations, and can lead to increased heart rate, sweaty palms, and the nervous sensation in our abdomens often referred to as butterflies in the stomach.

We’ve all had situations when we’re felt nervous or anxious, but those moments pass and we move on with our lives. Anxiety disorders, on the other hand, affect 40 millions adults annually, are highly treatable, but only a fraction of those trying to cope (just under 37% of sufferers) actually get the help they need. Let’s see if we can get more people assistance in dealing with this mental illness by separating nervousness from actual anxiety disorders, the types of disorders you can suffer from, and when you should seek help.

Residents of the Woodlands and Kingwood, Texas, trying to cope with anxiety disorders and other mental illnesses can find help with Dr. Athi Venkatesh and his dedicated team at Kingwood Psychiatry.

Separating nervousness from anxiety disorder

As mentioned previously, everyone runs into situations where they get nervous or become anxious, whether it's being in a situation you think is dangerous, being asked to do something you’re not sure about, or being at a function where you don’t know anyone. But those feelings pass either when you become comfortable or the situation passes, and anxiety disorders are the result of those conditions not going away. It means you feel nervousness, uncertainty and other signs to the point where you can’t control when it happens, you overreact to situations, and it keeps you from functioning normally in normal situations.

Types of anxiety disorders

There are numerous types of anxiety disorders, including:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD): chronic and excessive fear of events, often completely ordinary and completely out of proportion to the situation
  • Panic disorder: this involves intense, repeated feelings of dread, terror or panic (called panic attacks) that can lead to completely avoiding the things that trigger them
  • Separation anxiety: more common in children, the feeling of anxiety in someone separated from a parent or loved one
  • Agoraphobia: fear of open spaces that often leads to avoidance for fear of feeling trapped, helpness, or embarrassed
  • Selective mutism: a chronic failure of children to speak under specific circumstances, including school functions and other social activities

When you should get help

When you’re feeling nervous about a situation, it helps to understand being nervous is completely normal, and in some situations can actually be a benefit. If you’re nervous about a new challenge, going to a new school or otherwise new environment, overcoming this feeling can be a great help in adapting and conquering fears. Talking to friends and loved ones about the situation can also be a great help, and relaxation techniques can help to adjust your way of thinking before getting into something that makes you anxious.

If you’re dealing with the signs of the listed anxiety disorders or any of the numerous others, the most important thing to do is to seek help. These disorders don’t go away on their own, and if it’s bad enough that it’s affecting your life, you need to find someone to help you through the illness. These disorders can cause problems in social and personal relationships, affect your ability to work and function in normal environments, and in some cases even lead to suicidal thoughts. If you’re dealing with any of these issues, we’re here to help.

When you’re ready to deal with these issues, please make an appointment with Dr. Venkatesh and Kingwood Psychiatry to let us get you through this condition.