Suffering from anxiety isn’t easy. No matter what anxiety you deal with, the desire for relief is always there. Whether it’s social anxiety, PTSD, OCD, agoraphobia, specific phobias, or generalized anxiety disorder, you yearn for a break from painful symptoms.
You’re probably tired of anxiety’s physical effects, such as racing heart, flushing, stomach issues, and insomnia. You’re tired of its emotional effects—running thoughts, panic, living life much less fully than you’d like.
Perhaps your anxiety has grown and become worse over time. It can feel discouraging. If you’re searching for answers and hoping for help, here is some insight into why your anxiety has become worse over time.
Lack of Treatment
Like many mental health issues, anxiety often becomes worse when it isn’t actively treated. Treatment helps you get to the root causes of your anxiety. It enables you to discover solutions and practical ways of managing its symptoms.
But when you don’t treat it, your fears and phobias can run untethered through your mind. You don’t learn to rein it in—you may not even believe that it’s possible to rein it in.
Feelings of anxiety set off the “fight, flight, or freeze” instinct in your brain. These are authentic physiological reactions with deep roots in your nervous system. This instinct wants to protect you; it readies you to respond to danger. This instinct used to be vital to survival when predators were common, and a physical threat was real. Now, though, it often overreacts to the perils of our modern world.
When you suffer from anxiety, you need to learn how to manage this fight, flight, or freeze instinct. It can be hard to do on your own. The guidance of a therapist is often necessary. If you haven’t treated your anxiety, this biological instinct can wreak havoc in your life. Learning how to calm your nervous system is possible, but the longer you’ve delayed treatment, the harder it can be.
Lack of treatment also allows one type of anxiety to mushroom into others. Perhaps you started with a phobia of flying. Over time, as you learned to avoid airplanes, your brain started thinking that car travel was also a threat. Without learning the skills to manage your first phobia, it was easier for another one to pop up.
Like many health conditions, anxiety can be worsened by substance use. This includes alcohol and nicotine, along with illicit drugs. Many of these substances create feelings of anxiety. They can also lessen your body’s ability to handle your anxiety on your own.
Life is stressful. If you suffer from anxiety, you certainly know that. But sometimes life’s demands can be more relentless than at other times. Persistent times of stress can worsen anxiety. When you’re continually facing real-life pressures with no chance to recover, it’s harder for your body and mind to bounce back.
Job loss, natural disasters, divorce, or death of close family members, moves, and child-rearing can place heavy burdens on your shoulders. If you’re already anxiety-prone, the weight of such challenges wears your coping skills thin.
Your emotional reserves and resiliency become weaker. It’s no surprise that your anxiety has worsened over time if you’re in these situations. Seek out resources to help you become stronger and get through these challenges.
As hard as it is to believe, please know that there is hope and help for anxiety. If you’re tired of living in fear, you can find a way out. The sooner you do it, the sooner you’ll be able to find relief.
As a psychologist with over 17 years of experience in anxiety treatment, I have helped many clients move forward with renewed thinking and relief from anxiety. If you would like to read more about anxiety, click here. Or feel free to contact me for more information regarding anxiety treatment.