Nine Signs You May Have an Anxiety Disorder

These nine signs that you may have an anxiety disorder can help you decide how your symptoms compare to signs of anxiety disorders. Learn more at HealthyPlace.

Paying attention to signs that you may have an anxiety disorder can be helpful. Anxiety is miserable. Also miserable is not quite knowing if you have anxiety, something else, or nothing at all. This state of unknowing is in itself a sign of anxiety (bringing our list to 10). To help yourself solve the puzzle of what you're experiencing, read on for nine signs you may have an anxiety disorder. 

Wondering if your thoughts, feelings, and actions are rooted in anxiety can cause stress and more anxiety. When dealing with an anxiety disorder, it's common to agonize over symptoms. Do you have anxiety? Do you have a medical illness? Is there something wrong with you? Are you making too much out of nothing? If questions like these are running rampant through your mind, first know that you're normal. Next, know that you can do something about it. Knowing the signs of anxiety is a great first step because it will shape your actions: will you work on ways to reduce your anxiety or will you seek help for something different?

Compare your experiences to these common anxiety signs. 

Signs You May Have an Anxiety Disorder

You may have an anxiety disorder if:

  1. You find yourself avoiding things. Anxiety disorders make it hard to be around people or in certain places or situations. If you notice rising discomfort and find yourself making excuses to avoid people, places, and events, you may have an anxiety disorder.
  2. You feel guilty for many things. Often, when people live with anxiety disorders, they worry about things they say and do (or don't say and don't do). They overanalyze conversations, expressions, words said, tone of voice, and nearly every other nuance of existence. Inevitably, they find fault in themselves. Worry about this turns into guilt that can eat away at someone with an anxiety disorder. 
  3. You lose sleep. If you find yourself having difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or both because you're fretting with worries, fears, and what-ifs, you may have an anxiety disorder. 
  4. You know that others are thinking bad things about you. A short text message, a distracted conversation, two coworkers laughing in across the hallway: if these and similar situations put you on edge, making you worry that you've done something terrible to cause poor responses, you may have an anxiety disorder. This type of anxious thinking is very common in social anxiety disorder
  5. Your chest hurts. Anxiety causes a host of physical symptoms, including chest pain. Many people with anxiety and panic attacks fear that they're having a heart attack. (The first time you experience chest pains, it's a good idea to consult with your doctor.) 
  6. Your first response when someone tells you something is often "What if . . ." or "I feel sick." The worry and fears of anxiety become automatic responses.  
  7. No matter where you go, you find worries. The anxious brain looks for problems and worries as a way to anticipate what it believes is a dangerous, scary world online and off.
  8. You feel like you're going crazy. Anxiety disorders often make people feel that they're losing their mind because of the incessant, redundant, and obsessive nature of anxious thoughts and emotions. 

This Could Be the Most Telling Sign of Anxiety

One more significant sign of having an anxiety disorder is the feeling that your life is limited. If you want to live differently and think differently but the above signs keep you from making your life better, you may have an anxiety disorder. 

The good news is that, with patience, persistence, and effort, anxiety disorders are treatable. Whether you have one or nine signs of having an anxiety disorder, these signs don't have to last. If you've decided that you could have an anxiety disorder, now you can dive into overcoming it. 

APA Reference
Peterson, T. (2018, July 5). Nine Signs You May Have an Anxiety Disorder, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 22 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.

Lizanne Corbit
July, 5 2018 at 9:42 pm

I love that at the end you mention feeling like life is limited, in so many ways I think anxiety can be seen as a calling to live a fuller, more genuine life. Understanding some of the differences between having anxious feelings and an actual anxiety disorder can be comforting. Thanks for sharing!

July, 10 2018 at 12:11 pm

Hi Lizanne,
I wholly agree with your perspective that anxiety can beckon us forward into the quality life we want. Anxiety can be horrible, but we can use it to reflect on what we want in our life without anxiety, and then take measures to get it. Well said!

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