When Do You Need Anxiety Help?

It can be surprisingly difficult to know when you need anxiety help. Sometimes we are agitated, second-guessing ourselves, worrying about our mistakes or how we’re perceived or that something bad will happen. Yet despite this nagging anxiety, it’s common to wonder if you need anxiety help or if the anxiety is just something to deal with until it passes. Here, learn ways to tell if you need anxiety help.

Questions to Help You Decide When You Need Anxiety Help

Do you need anxiety help? It can be hard to know when to get help for anxiety. There are ways to decide. Learn how to determine when you need anxiety help.Anxiety can be specific or vague. It can involve worry, fear, and panic. It can cause physical and emotional symptoms. Paying attention to the nature and intensity of your anxiety can help you determine if you need anxiety help.

Consider the following questions as you reflect on your anxiety. Writing down both questions and answers can help you sort things out, and your responses can become a very useful discussion tool if and when you do decide to find anxiety help.

  1. What is your anxiety like? How does it affect your body? Your emotions? Your thoughts? Your behaviors and actions?
  2. How does anxiety impact your functioning? Does it interfere in many areas of your life (such as social/relationships, work, family life, etc.)? Or does anxiety have minimal impact on how you live your life?
  3. On a scale from one to 10, with one being very poor and 10 being outstanding, rate the quality of your life with anxiety. Why did you rate it this way?
  4. How long have your anxiety symptoms been part of your life? (The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Illness, Fifth Edition, specifies that, for most anxiety disorders, the symptoms must be present for at least six months for anxiety to qualify as a disorder.)
  5. How is your sleep? Anxiety has a nasty habit of disrupting sleep, which fuels more anxiety (The [Dysfunctional] Relationship Between Sleep and Anxiety).

Your answers will help you realize just how much anxiety is disrupting your life. If you find that anxiety symptoms are intense, they’ve been present for more than half a year, and the quality of your life is lower than you want it to be, you might decide that you need and want help for your anxiety.

Does the Cause Determine Whether You Need Anxiety Help?

Anxiety can have many different causes. They can be biological, passed down from parent to child. Causes of anxiety can also be environmental. Sometimes situations, circumstances, or people can cause anxiety and anxiety disorders. Past or present trauma can also lead to anxiety.

The causes of anxiety are multiple and complex. By themselves, the causes don’t always determine whether you need anxiety help. Anxiety’s causes can be important (but they doesn’t have to be, for sometimes anxiety strikes seemingly without a cause); however, it isn’t always a consideration in the decision to seek treatment. The biggest factor is how anxiety is impacting your ability to function in your life.

Types of Anxiety Help

If you do decide to seek help for anxiety, there are many different types of mental health treatment available. Some of these options include:

  1. Your regular doctor -- He or she can rule out medical causes, discuss treatment options, prescribe medication, and refer you to other professionals.
  2. Psychologists, therapists, and counselors -- These mental health professionals can work with you to sort things out.
  3. Support groups -- Local organizations such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) have support groups in which people dealing with similar challenges, such as anxiety, help and support each other in a structured environment.
  4. Bibliotherapy -- Reading articles and books (fiction, non-fiction, and self-help) can offer tremendous insight into how to deal with anxiety.
  5. Online resources and support -- Finding good information and connecting with people online can help you learn about and manage anxiety. HealthyPlace and this Anxiety-Schmanxiety blog are examples of this.

Anxiety is confusing, and it can be hard to know when to seek anxiety help. Reflecting on your experiences with anxiety and the quality of your life can help you determine whether you want to find help for anxiety. Above all, know what you want and how you can best accomplish it. Seek help for anxiety when you need it in order to thrive once again.

Let's connect. I blog here. Find me on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest. My self-help book and mental health novels, including one about severe anxiety, are here.

APA Reference
Peterson, T. (2017, January 5). When Do You Need Anxiety Help?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 13 from

Author: Tanya J. Peterson, MS, NCC, DAIS

Tanya J. Peterson is the author of numerous anxiety self-help books, including The Morning Magic 5-Minute Journal, The Mindful Path Through Anxiety, 101 Ways to Help Stop Anxiety, The 5-Minute Anxiety Relief Journal, The Mindfulness Journal for Anxiety, The Mindfulness Workbook for Anxiety, and Break Free: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy in 3 steps. She has also written five critically acclaimed, award-winning novels about life with mental health challenges. She delivers workshops for all ages and provides online and in-person mental health education for youth. She has shared information about creating a quality life on podcasts, summits, print and online interviews and articles, and at speaking events. Tanya is a Diplomate of the American Institution of Stress helping to educate others about stress and provide useful tools for handling it well in order to live a healthy and vibrant life. Find her on her website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Angela Sullinger
September, 8 2017 at 7:56 pm

My name is Angela I'm 37 years old I have been suffering from panic attacks for over 2 years now I will not take any type of narcotics but I'm getting to the point to where I'm scared of having panic attacks I live in fear everyday of panic attacks they really scare me I've seen a psychytrist and I'm on an antidepressant called trintellex. I guess my question is I'm finally in a great place in my life I'm happy successful and basically I have no reason to have anxiety attacks do they ever go away or is there something I should do different? I am scared everyday of having one please tell me what to do

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

September, 11 2017 at 12:03 pm

Hi Angela,
Panic attacks and panic disorder are frustrating and can definitely interfere in an otherwise healthy, happy life. While there isn't a quick fix, you don't have to live with this forever. It can and does go away. Have you seen a therapist/counselor? Psychiatrists can be a very important component of treatment and offer much value, but sometimes people need additional approaches, and sometimes psychiatrists aren't the right specialists to see. Psychiatrists deal primarily with medication. A psychologist or other therapist can work with you to overcome your symptoms so you can live without the fear of having panic attacks. Sometimes, too, a change of medication is helpful. This is something to discuss with your psychiatrist. You are allowed to ask what options are available, what works best for panic, etc.

Dr Musli Ferati
January, 16 2017 at 1:50 pm

Taking into account that anxiety is up to date epidemic emotional difficulty with many clinical faces and multiple causal aspects, the diagnostic and therapeutic aspect of this mental entity is of critical importance. Generally, it is classifying as primary and secondary anxiety disorder, because there aren't mental and somatic illness without supplementary feeling of fear or worrying. Your problematic questions have got great impact on its psychiatric treatment, because its prompt and due treatment indicates substantial implication on definitive course and outcomes, as well. However, anxiety should be treated by mental health service as soon as possible, because its concealment underlines very serious mental and somatic complication. Each emotional distress experience that last for some months with disturbing daily personal, interpersonal, occupational and social functioning should be observed by competent mental health experts. On the other hand, psychological concern that compromise sleeping are big reason to seek psychiatric help. Furthermore, when it is known that anxiety is insidious and chronic mental disorder, which one hasn't any visible sign. Psychiatric treatment and management include complex psychiatric treatment under close supervision of clinical psychiatrist. Supplementary helping from clinical psychologist or any other mental health expert is welcoming, and should be in accordance with recommendations of respective clinical psychiatrist. Otherwise, the probabilities for inadequate and invalid psychiatric treatment of this common emotional disorder would be of high risque. In consequence, commonsense psychiatric treatment of anxiety embrace complex biopsychosocial simultaneous approach with individual peculiarities.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

January, 17 2017 at 3:05 pm

Hello Dr. Ferati,
I appreciate your valuable insights and emphasis that seeking anxiety treatment is very important. When anxiety interferes with functioning in many aspects of life, including sleep, finding psychiatric help is important. Anxiety doesn't have to destroy someone's life, and with proper help from a qualified professional, anxiety is treatable. And as you said, the sooner one seeks treatment, the better the outcome. You made a great point in mentioning primary and secondary anxiety. Whether anxiety occurs as its own illness or as part of/the result of worrying about another condition, it can be treated with the right help. It can be hard sometimes to know when to seek treatment and if it's okay to do so, so hearing from a psychiatric professional on this matter is very helpful. Thank you.

January, 10 2017 at 1:05 pm

What do you do when your partner has made you the target of their anxiety attacks, being mean and obsessing over different things while threatening to break up with you, leaving you unable to be their source of emotional support during an attack?

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

January, 11 2017 at 10:22 pm

Hi Paula,
This might be a good opportunity to step back and evaluate things in your relationship. It's important to do this in any relationship from time to time, so don't feel bad for doing so! What are your roles and your partner's roles? Is your main role, and main enjoyment in the relationship, giving emotional support? And is your partner mean more often than nice? If you don't like the answers you come up with, it's okay to question why you are still in this relationship. Maybe you'll find that there are many good things about the relationship and you want to stay. If that's the case, you and your partner can talk about these other problematic areas in order to move past them in a healthy way.

January, 5 2017 at 11:10 pm

Good article on anxiety.

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