Anxiety is a prevalent mental illness that affects a notable portion of the American population.1 Also, statistics show that anxiety disorders differ based on specific factors, such as age, race, and even gender.
Anxiety disorders are quite pronounced in America, with about 40 million adults living with the illness. Despite the significant population suffering from this medical concern, many people are yet to seek professional help because of factors like cost and stigmatization.
Similarly, a survey revealed that around 33% of people suffer from this illness at least once in their lifetime. Again, some studies asserted that the growing anxiety rates are because of modernization. They believe that the environmental and societal changes resulted in heightened anxiety.
A prevalence rate shows how major a mental illness is in a society. For one, many studies have failed to get accurate results from a series of surveys. This is mainly because of some bias, making them largely unreliable.
It’s natural for someone to be anxious and not suffer from a mental illness. Anxiety keeps us alert and ready to make certain moves, especially when facing dangerous situations.
Because some studies have failed to clearly distinguish between periodic anxiety, which is part of our daily lives, and clinical anxiety disorders, needing medical attention, there are cases of exaggerated reporting.
That said, statistics have shown that experts can treat most anxiety disorders. But only 36% of people with this medical concern are receiving treatments.2
It’s safe to state that not everyone has a clinical anxiety disorder. Although we can be anxious from time to time, experts cannot prove that everyone has anxiety.
What Is Anxiety?
Anxiety is a disorder accompanied by tension or worry.3 When a person is diagnosed with clinical anxiety, they must have exhibited excessive fear or nervousness.
One of the most common types of anxiety is generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). GAD is an ongoing disorder that can interfere with a person’s daily life. GAD patients constantly worry about dates or events.4
Their worry is often unfounded and excessive, making it difficult for them to enjoy their daily activities. Often, this disorder can last for many months and can only be diagnosed by a professional.5
Today, over 6 million Americans suffer from GAD, but only 43% of them are treated. This is a growing concern for mental health specialists, especially since more medical attention is given to other mental ailments like schizophrenia and depression. You should request professional help for your anxiety when the need arises.
Social anxiety disorder(SAD) is another category of anxiety. Statistics assert that around 15 million American adults suffer from SAD. This anxiety is characterized by a feeling of shyness or discomfort in social gatherings.6
Because a person is shy does not necessarily mean they have SAD. In many situations, reserved people find it hard to socialize because of their personality, but this cannot determine their mental state.
People with social anxiety disorder usually avoid social contact, making it difficult to carry out school or workplace routines.
What’s The Difference Between Feeling Nervous And Anxious?
Quite often, nervousness is a symptom of anxiety. Many people with anxiety have exhibited nervousness at some point.
Similarly, not everyone anxious suffers from anxiety. For example, if you anticipate an exciting event, you might become very nervous yet not have an anxiety disorder.
Nervousness is a state characterized by tension, and it often occurs when you are in a stressful situation. You might be having a presentation that requires facing a large crowd, inciting tension within you.
When you are nervous, you can feel your pulse racing, voice shaking, or mouth becoming dry.7 And unlike feeling anxious, nervousness is only for the moment.
Feeling anxious could be a continuous affair, especially when living with an anxiety disorder. Usually, anxiety is a feeling of excessive fear or worry caused by thoughts.
To distinguish these closely related concepts, we look at known differences between feeling nervous and anxious.
- Medical condition: Being nervous is significantly different from anxiety. The former is not a condition that usually requires medical attention, but the latter is a psychiatric disorder resulting from genes, psychological state, or experiences. For people with anxiety, they may not have triggers leading to their worry. But for you to be nervous, it has to be due to an uncomfortable situation.
- Thoughts: When you are nervous, you hardly have damaging thoughts about your abilities or person. But for people suffering from anxiety frequently have fears incited by unlikely or exaggerated events. Anxiety could also lead to self-harming and other damaging activities.
Is It Nerves Or Anxiety?
When you exhibit some symptoms of these concepts, you might wonder if you suffer from nervousness or anxiety. You might mistake one for the other if you are unsure of their differences.
To understand what you are suffering from, use these features to set one apart from the other. While this can help you understand your symptoms, you might need medical help for a proper diagnosis.
- Persistence: Anxiety is a persistent state that never completely goes. Although it might subside to a lower degree, it remains present. On the other hand, nervousness is a short experience. For that moment, you might feel tensed and scared, but the feeling is temporary. Nerves cannot affect your lifestyle or personality.
- General feeling: Again, when you are nervous, it's usually because of a particular situation. Without that situation, there is a huge possibility you wouldn't have felt that way. But for anxiety, you will find it hard to point out a particular problem that made you anxious. Often, anxiety is a general state, which has no specific triggers and can happen at any time.
- Severity: Nervousness is usually not a problem for many people. But for anxiety, people find it hard to live their everyday life. It affects the quality of social interactions and could also affect sleeping patterns.
How To Know If You Have An Anxiety Disorder
Early diagnosis is crucial for managing an anxiety disorder. Although there are numerous categories of this mental illness, it most significantly affects its well-being and health.
To know if you have an anxiety disorder, you must understand the symptoms of this medical term. So, here are some signs of an anxiety disorder.8
- Sweaty and cold hands: If you notice that you frequently have cold or sweaty hands, you might suffer from anxiety. Still, sweaty hands could be caused by genetics, food, or an allergy, making it vital to ascertain your health with a professional.
- Muscle tension: Another common symptom is muscle tension. Because anxiety is a psychiatric disorder, many body parts feel tensed and hyper. You may need to take things easy when your muscles tense.
- Panic and nervousness: While it’s natural to panic in certain situations, if you have no reason to panic, then it could be anxiety. Anxiety also makes people nervous and worried, leading to worsened panic attacks.
- Restlessness and insomnia: Anxiety disorders and insomnia go hand in hand. Because of persistent restlessness, many mental health patients struggle to get sufficient sleep. 8 if you find it hard to sleep due to restlessness, then you need to seek medical assistance.
How To Manage Anxiety
Living with a mental illness can affect a person's lifestyle and choices, making it necessary to manage the condition properly. Luckily, there are known medications that can treat anxiety, restoring normalcy to your daily life.
Here are some helpful ways that can help you manage your condition.
- Seeking medical help: The first step you should take to manage your health is by visiting professionals. With their assistance, you would get recommended treatments needed for a speedy recovery.
- Exercising: Exercising is a natural therapy for maintaining a healthy mental state. It will help if you explore new fitness routines to help combat anxiety. This enables you to loosen tension while staying energized for your daily tasks.9
- Eating good food: Eating good food is an excellent way to live healthily. When you are not eating well, you may worsen your anxiety or even trigger other mental illnesses. To maintain a healthy lifestyle, ensure you eat lots of fruits and vegetables.
- Sleeping: Getting sufficient sleep is crucial to managing your mental condition. Although insomnia is a common symptom of many mental ailments, you should endeavor to get your recommended hours of sleep.
Anxiety disorders are capable of limiting your social interactions, making it challenging to get things done. Although very similar, nervousness should not be mistaken for anxiety. Because these concepts are closely related, many people cannot distinguish them. It’s important to understand that the differences lie in severity and persistence.
Anxiety also has a series of symptoms, such as muscle tension, restlessness, and even insomnia. Fortunately, you can reduce the intensity of your mental situation by getting medical help, exercising, and eating well.
Despite the rising numbers of anxiety patients in the US, it is far-fetched to say everyone has an anxiety disorder. People become anxious at different points in their lives, but medical attention is not always needed for most.