Since anxiety disorders manifest differently for everyone a Bustle article provides 11 signs to look for if you are concerned about a loved one.
1. They Complain About Feeling Worried
Worry is a normal part of life, but for someone with an anxiety disorder, it can be constant and debilitating. Amanda MacMillan on Health described worry for someone with generalized anxiety disorder as “persistent anxious thoughts on most days of the week, for six months.”
2. They Have Some Pretty Bad Phobias
Phobias are another kind of anxiety disorder that involve intense fear when exposed to the source. Examples of phobias include but are not limited to small spaces, flying, and spiders.
3. They Avoid Certain Situations
If something causes someone anxiety, such as flying or using the elevator, they may begin to avoid being in those situations entirely. Avoidance is the most common anxiety symptom, and it often negatively impacts people’s lives.
4. They Can Hardly Ever Sleep
Another common sign of anxiety is sleep deprivation. People with an anxiety disorder often have trouble sleeping because they worry throughout the night.
5. They’ve Had a Panic Attack
Panic attacks are terrible to experience, and they can snowball a bad situation into a worse one. These attacks can lead to agoraphobia – a fear of going places – and avoidant behavior. This can quickly become a vicious cycle.
6. They Seriously Hate Being in Public
People with generalized anxiety commonly do not enjoy being in public, but people with social anxiety disorder do not like being in public at all. If you notice your friend avoiding going to the bar, to concerts, etc., he or she may be suffering from social anxiety disorder.
7. They Never Feel Well
Anxiety is mentally and physically draining. Someone with anxiety likely experiences frequent headaches, nausea, shallow breathing, dry mouth, and shakiness.
8. They’re Obsessive
If you’re noticing your loved one has obsessive habits like unplugging all outlets or checking that the door is locked seven times, it is possible they may have obsessive compulsive disorder. These behaviors also often indicate obsessive thoughts.
9. They Are Self-Conscious
Social anxiety disorder is much more intricate than a fear of public speaking. Someone with this disorder is anxious about simple, daily situations like eating in front of people or talking to a cashier at the grocery store.
10. They’re Still Scarred from an Event
A well-known but often-stigmatized anxiety disorder is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which can manifest in people who have been through a traumatic event. If you know someone who went through something traumatizing such as domestic abuse or a natural disaster, and they are struggling with that event, they may have PTSD.
11. They’re Full of Self-Doubt
Everyone experiences self-doubt at times, but people with anxiety usually doubt themselves to such an extent that it has a negative impact on their lives.
If you notice these signs in your loved one, reach out to them in a comforting and supportive way to discuss your concerns and get them help.