When Should You Seek Support for Anxiety?

Hannah Cline's picture
By Hannah Cline on April 17, 2018

Did you know that anxiety disorders affect over 40 million Americans, but only one-third of affected people seek the help of a medical professional?

Anxiety disorders are highly treatable, but it is important to understand the difference between a disorder and everyday anxiety in order to know when to seek medical support.

Many people worry about important life events, like getting a job after graduation or even figuring out how to pay bills month-to-month.

These concerns can be considered a regular part of life. However, if these emotions disrupt your day-to-day life, it is important to consider reaching out to someone.

“In general, when worry, nervousness or ongoing fear has negative effects on a person’s ability to function, that is a good indicator that it’s time to seek the help of a medical professional,” said Robert L. Trestman, Ph.D., M.D., chair of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine at Carilion Clinic.

It is helpful to be familiar with the common symptoms of anxiety: 

  • Restlessness or feeling wound-up or on edge
  • Being easily fatigued
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Muscle tension
  • Difficulty controlling worry and nervousness
  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep, and having unsatisfying sleep for an extended period

There are many approaches to treatment depending on the individual; treatment options include medication and psychotherapy.

“One treatment is not usually the end-all be-all,” explained Dr. Trestman. “A patient often sees the best outcomes when using a multifaceted approach to care.”
Stress-management techniques are another effective way to manage anxiety. Some tips include:

  • Taking deep breaths when you feel stressed
  • Write a journal or talk to someone to relieve your stress and seek support
  • Learn to accept that you can’t control everything
  • Maintain a positive attitude by practicing yoga, listening to music, meditating, getting a massage, etc.
  • Limit alcohol and caffeine intake as they can aggravate anxiety
  • Eat well-balanced meals
  • Exercise daily to boost your physical and mental health
  • Give back to your community through volunteering to create a support network and a break from everyday stress

If you or your loved ones are struggling with stress and anxiety, please consider talking to your primary care doctor to assure you are getting the right support.