How Do You Know When it’s More Than Just Anxiety?

Warning signs and what to do

BY HIV Plus Editors

September 27 2012 3:00 AM ET

See our related sidebar, Keeping Depression At Bay.

It’s easy to get anxious or depressed, especially when you’re juggling career, family, and HIV. But, it could be more than just worry. Generalized anxiety disorder is a mental health condition that requires professional help. It’s characterized by excessive worrying about perceived danger in everyday situations.

Symptoms include:
•    constant fear, often without any discernible cause
•    upset stomach, often accompanied by diarrhea
•    inability to sleep
•    irritability
•    inability to focus
•    diminished sex drive
•    muscle tension and aches
•    overeating or undereating

Signs of anxiety in children include:
•    fear of being left or taken from the family
•    fear of strangers beyond normal caution
•    refusal to go to school
•    fear of going to sleep
•    recurring nightmares

Seek professional help if your feelings of anxiety:
•    seem unwarranted or abnormally severe
•    affect your ability to work or socialize
•    bring on panic attacks
•    causes weight loss or bulging of the eyes (signs of thyroid problems)

- Compiled by Stephanie Schroeder

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