According to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America (ADAA), anxiety disorders are affecting 40 million adults in the US each year but only 36.9% get treatment.
For most people, deciding to seek therapy can be difficult. Because anxiety is a common emotion, many don’t see the need to seek professional help, thinking that they just need to adapt to their situations better. Some don’t know when to see a therapist, while others are afraid of the stigma attached to seeing a therapist.
Normal Anxiety vs. Problematic Anxiety
In order to get help, it’s crucial to distinguish between normal anxiety and anxiety disorder. Normal anxiety usually occurs in response to stressful situations, like an upcoming exam, or a new job. It is intermittent and can help you stay focused or accomplish your goals.
But unmanageable and long-standing feelings of anxiety can be a sign of serious mental health issues like anxiety disorders. Such cases often need online counseling or therapy interventions to be treated.
Here are some considerations to know when it’s time to see a therapist about your anxiety.
When It Feels Impossible To Regulate the Emotion
Feeling sad, anxious, or angry from time to time is natural. However, it’s crucial to pay attention to how often and long you feel these emotions. You might need further help if you’re feeling chronic or recurring excessive anxiety with the following emotional symptoms:
- Feelings of apprehension
- Difficulty concentrating
- Anticipating the worst
You’re Experiencing Physical Issues
Anxiety is a product of the body’s fight or flight response. That’s why you may experience some physical symptoms when you are in an anxious state. But if your anxiety is associated with the following symptoms for the past 6 months without any medical cause, it might be a signal that you need help.
- Being easily fatigued
- Muscle tension
- Shortness of breath
- Shaking or trembling
- Stomach upset
You’ve Recently Experienced a Traumatic Event
Traumatic life events are the biggest contributors to anxiety and depression. If you have anxiety because of an accident, or after experiencing violence or any of the other common sources of trauma, you should see a licensed counselor or therapist. Even just coming in for a few sessions of counseling can help determine the extent of the help you need to process the event.
Your Coping Method is Causing You Harm
Talking to a friend, exercising, or participating in hobbies and activities are some healthy ways to calm your anxiety. But you might need professional help if you’re turning to unhealthy coping styles, such as the following:
- Drinking alcohol
- Eating too much or too little
- Taking recreational drugs
- Bouts of physical violence (hitting objects or people)
- Avoiding family and friends
Anxiety Interferes With Your Daily Life
If your anxiety causes significant distress or hinders your ability to function normally in your school, job or daily life, it can be an indicator that you need to seek therapy or online counseling. Note that avoidance is a symptom of problematic anxiety and might cause you to skip school, stop going to work, or avoid any normal activity that might trigger anxiety.
How Can A Therapist Help You?
Seeing a therapist can be anxiety-inducing on its own. But they can help you figure out how serious your anxiety is, what’s causing it, and learn different strategies to cope with its symptoms.
If you want to talk through what you’re dealing with, contact us to request a consultation or to inquire about how we can help.