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How do you know if you are anxious

Everyone worries about certain things at certain times. So, how do you know if you have an anxiety disorder?

Everyday anxiety or worry A possible anxiety disorder
You worry about life events such as a job interview, going on a romantic date with someone new, or your financial situation Your worry about these events is persistent, unrelenting, and interferes with your functioning

Awkward or unfamiliar social situations make you feel uncomfortable

You avoid all social situations because you fear being humiliated or negatively judged
You notice signs of nervousness (for example cold and sweating hands, trembling voice) before making a speech at work or engaging in a performance

You have panic attacks at random times, and spend time worrying about another unexpected attack

You have a proportionate amount of anxiety and fear of dangerous objects, and limited fear of non-dangerous objects You have a disproportionate fear of certain objects that pose relatively little threat to you
You take reasonable steps to ensure you live in a healthy environment and are not distressed by unwanted thoughts You take significant steps to ensure your environment is clean by obsessively washing or checking and are bothered by thoughts about your environment

(adapted from Anxiety Disorder Association of America: http://www.adaa.org/understanding-anxiety)

It is important to have your overall health monitored by a medical doctor because certain health difficulties can look like anxiety. For example, the restlessness of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder can look like anxiety. Or, the shortness of breath, palpitations and dizziness of anemia can look similar to the body-based symptoms of a panic attack. Certain medications can also bring on symptoms of anxiety.

If you believe you are struggling with symptoms of anxiety, it is important to see someone who can help you. Only certain regulated health professionals can diagnose an anxiety disorder. This site, Check Up From the Neck Up, offers resources on various anxiety disorders. You can also “get a checkup” where you will be screened for different anxiety disorders.

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Women and anxiety

Risk factors

How do you know if you are anxious

What to do if you are anxious

Online resources

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  • A publication of:
  • Women's College Hospital