Is your everyday concerns a sign of an anxiety disorder

It's not normal to worry about something new every single day. If it interferes with your daily life, it's time to mention it to your doctor.  You may think it is natural to worry about loved ones or to catch a plane on time. Nevertheless, when worrying be­comes obsessive, and it may be a sign of an anxiety disorder.


“Revealing signs include needing more assurance than usual and restricting activities because of fears or concerns.”

"Ruminating, or going over and"over the same worry or deci­sion, is a warning sign," says Dr Ann Epstein, a clinical instructor in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

Generalised anxiety disorder

While there are many kinds of anxi­ety disorders—such as obsessive-com­pulsive disorder, panic attacks, and phobias or fears—generalised anxiety disorder is the most common type of anxiety among older adults. 

These happen when worry is present most of the time and interferes with a person's ability to function normally, although the particular worry may change. 

 "It is not unusual for older adults to become anx­ious, especially when long-held routines are disrupted by moving or by other losses such as illness or death of loved ones,"

Recognise the symptoms

So how do you know what is normal? "It is not normal if you need more than the usual reassurance for something, or if you restrict your ac­tivities because of anxiety,".

Watch out for these symptoms:

persistent, excessive worry about various things for at least six months

  • fatigue,
  • difficulty sleeping, or
  • restlessness
  • trouble concentrating
  • irritability
  • muscle tension
  • feeling tense or on edge.

Treatment options

Unfortunately, older adults may go undiagnosed because there seem to be "good" reasons for their concerns. However, treatment is effective and widely available. It may include prescription medications.

Antidepressants known as serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, such as venlafaxine (Effexor) or duloxetine (Cymbalta), can help treat anxiety as well as depression and are often prescribed.

Also used are benzodiazepines such as alprazolam (Xanax) and diazepam (Valium), as well as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors such as citalopram (Celexa) and fluoxetine (Prozac).

Medications are not always necessary. 

An effective pill-free form of treatment for generalised anxiety is called cog­nitive behavioural therapy. It helps you identify automatic negative thoughts, understand why they are not rational, and come up with ways to eliminate de­structive thoughts and reinforce posi­tive ones—such as by using distraction or soothing images.

 "Either way, you do not have to endure uncomfortable or unbearable levels of anxiety Help is available, and it makes a difference,"


  • […] or try to distract yourself by zoning out in front of screens. Chronic worrying can also point to General Anxiety Disorder (GAD), which is a common anxiety disorder that involves nervousness, tension, and a general feeling […]

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