7 Signs That Your Anxiety Is Getting Worse

7 Signs That Your Anxiety Is Getting Worse

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Roughly 30% of us will experience some form of anxiety disorder throughout our lives. An anxiety disorder is characterised by a persistent irrational fear or worry that interferes with daily life. Types of anxiety disorder include:

  • Phobias: Fear of a specific thing like spiders or heights
  • GAD (generalised anxiety disorder): Fear and worrying surrounding lots of different things
  • Social anxiety: Fear and worrying surrounding social situations
  • PTSD: Fear and worrying triggered by a traumatic event
  • OCD: Fear and worrying surrounding certain things that results in obsessive thoughts and behaviours

There are levels of anxiety ranging from mild to severe. Many of us start off with a very mild form of anxiety. While some people are able to keep anxiety at this level, others can experience worsening symptoms. It is important to understand when your anxiety is getting more severe so that you can seek out professional help. Below are a few telltale signs that your anxiety is getting worse – and what you can do to combat this. 

Facing your fears is becoming more exhausting each time

Facing one’s fears is key to beating anxiety. Some people find that they are able to overcome their anxiety by regularly exposing themselves to triggers. Examples include engaging in public speaking to beat social anxiety or regularly getting in a car to overcome PTSD caused by a road accident.

For others, exposing oneself to fear can only make these fears get worse. This could include dreading each public speech more than the last or having to try harder each time to get in the car. If you find that you’re getting more exhausted after each instance, it could be a clear sign that your anxiety is getting worse. Seeking out treatment for anxiety could be necessary for helping you to find a more successful way of facing your fears.

Preparation and rituals are taking longer

Are you wasting greater amounts of time preparing for risks or carrying out rituals as a result of your anxiety? This is often a sign of worsening OCD – certain rituals like cleaning or organising cupboards may get longer each time you do them as you try to be more thorough or precise. Those with other forms of anxiety may notice similar behaviours such as taking longer to prepare for a phone call each time if you have a phobia of phone calls. 

What may start as a 2 minute ritual could eventually turn into a 20 minute ritual that could cause you to miss appointments or arrive late at work/school. By getting treatment early, you can reduce the length of these rituals so that they do not become debilitating.  

You’ve started avoiding situations/tasks that were once manageable

Another sign that your anxiety could be getting worse is total avoidance of situations and tasks that you were once able to carry out. Perhaps you were once able to go out and order a coffee, but now you find it too overwhelming an experience. Or perhaps you were once able to remove small bugs from your home, but now you cannot even go near an ant.

Gradually, you may not be able to carry out important or essential tasks like going out of the house if you let fears constantly develop. It is important to seek out treatment if you start to feel yourself abstaining from activities that you were once able to handle.

Relationships with family and friends are getting more strained

Anxiety can end up putting a strain on relationships if you are not careful. There are many ways in which this can happen depending on the form of anxiety. For example, you could lose friends by constantly cancelling plans due to anxiety about travelling there or inability to make it due to OCD rituals. Anxiety could meanwhile take a toll on a partner or family members if you are constantly relying on them to handle basic tasks you find scary or if you are constantly expressing your worries to them causing them to get stressed.

It is important to know when your anxiety is affecting your relationship and talk to the people around you in order to find a way to make things better. This could include arranging new places to meet up with friends. Ultimately, looking into treatment could be necessary for beating anxiety and reducing the strain on loved ones. 

You’re starting to lose sleep over anxious thoughts

If anxiety previously did not affect your sleep but now keeps you up at night, this could be another sign that things are getting worse. From PTSD-induced nightmares to dread over going to work the next day, there are many ways in which anxiety can disturb our sleep. 

Taking steps to relax before going to bed can help to prevent insomnia as a result of anxiety. You can also look into sleep supplements or sleep medication. Therapy is also recommended as a way of beating anxious thoughts. 

Your worries are turning into panic attacks

Panic disorder is the most extreme form of anxiety. It is when situations become so overwhelming that they result in panic attacks. This typically results in sweating, trembling, nausea, dizziness and a rapid heart rate. Some people even hyperventilate, vomit or faint.

Each form of anxiety can eventually turn into panic disorder. Once you experience a panic attack it is important to seek out treatment if you haven’t already. Therapy can be useful for teaching you how to control panic attacks. Medication may also be able to help.

Your physical health is being affected

Anxiety could also be getting worse if you are starting to notice signs of physical wear and tear. On top of panic attacks and sleep deprivation, this could include:

  • Exhaustion and achy muscles
  • Loss of appetite or digestive issues
  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • Chest pains
  • Ance or other skin condition flare-ups
  • Hair loss
  • Headaches or jaw pain
  • Loss of libido
  • Fertility issues (including miscarriages)

All of these symptoms can be caused by general stress, but your anxiety disorder may also be to blame. It is worth noting that specific anxiety disorders can have their own health risks such as development of dermatitis on one’s hands from obsessive cleaning or worsening toothache as a result of dental anxiety. In these cases, therapy is necessary for protecting you from any more physical harm.


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