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Chronic Anxiety: What It Is and How to Deal With It

Expertly reviewed by Jessica Espanto, LPT, MA, RPsy · Psychology · In Touch Community Services

Written by Kirsten Rocamora · Updated Jul 28, 2022

Chronic Anxiety: What It Is and How to Deal With It

Everyone occasionally experiences anxiety. You might experience it when you encounter a problem, or when you join a competition, or before taking a test. However, chronic anxiety involves more than just momentary nervousness or fear.

With anxiety disorders, the feelings of fear, worry, or anxiety does not go away after weeks or months. They usually get worse as time passes without treatment. It can grievously affect someone’s daily experiences and interactions, including at work or in school.

How does chronic anxiety manifest as a disorder?

Smaller amounts of stress and anxiety have different effects on people. For some, a bit of stress makes them more productive and pushes them to do better. But to other people, there are times when anxiety overcomes their senses and it eventually becomes unbearable and overwhelming, to the point that they cannot function as they previously did.

When levels of stress, fear, and worry become severe enough to negatively affect your daily life activities, this may result in an anxiety disorder. There are many different kinds of anxiety disorders, but its most common form is the generalized anxiety disorder. Generalized anxiety disorders are characterized by excessive and constant anxiety and worry for most days for at least 6 months. The worries may be about personal conflicts, health, school, work, or relationships.

What are the signs and symptoms that point to chronic anxiety?

Symptoms are not the same for every person. There might be plenty of similarities and common signs among people suffering chronic anxiety, but people are all affected differently by events in their lives.

Possible symptoms include:

Emotional symptoms

  • Fear
  • Panic
  • Uneasiness
  • Despair
  • Irritable
  • Mood swings

Cognitive (thinking) symptoms

  • Fear of making wrong choices
  • Indecisiveness
  • Overthinking every problem and situation
  • Constant worrying about things that might be out of your control

Behavioral symptoms

  • Restlessness and feeling on edge
  • Unable to relax
  • Changes in appetite

Physical symptoms

  • Difficulty in concentrating
  • Insomnia, or trouble sleeping at night
  • Twitching and trembling
  • Excessive sweating
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Even though most of the signs and symptoms mentioned above may feel like second nature or normal actions and responses to certain situations, it all comes down to how much these affect the way you respond to situations. If any of these happen to you and they persist, it may be time to seek out help from a professional.

    Although having anxiety doesn’t necessarily mean you experience anxiety at every second of your life, it might mean that you experience anxiety even when you don’t have any reason to. The looming feeling that something bad will happen might be something that bothers you all the time.

    How Do You Live With Chronic Anxiety?

    To people with anxiety, life may be very stressful. They might pressure themselves to do more than they are capable of. They might overcompensate a lot for things they feel they lack. People with chronic anxiety might rely strongly on validation and require plenty of reassurance.

    But the experience is different for different people. Contact a professional if you feel like:

    • The worry and fear you’re feeling interferes too much with your life – work, relationships, and your well-being
    • You’re depressed or moody a lot
    • You use drugs, alcohol, and other substances to escape, or to feel calmer
    • You have suicidal thoughts and behaviors

    Key Takeaway

    Anxiety may severely affect your life. Medical and professional help may not work right away, but this doesn’t mean that things won’t get better. Once you notice that your fears make you overthink a lot and give you more unnecessary stress, it’s best to seek help as soon as you can. Anxiety is better treated when identified early on.

    Along with medical help, you can also help yourself by learning how to prioritize things, and better taking care of yourself.

    Living with chronic anxiety may be difficult, but it doesn’t always have to be that way.

    Learn more about Anxiety Disorders here.


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Expertly reviewed by

    Jessica Espanto, LPT, MA, RPsy

    Psychology · In Touch Community Services

    Written by Kirsten Rocamora · Updated Jul 28, 2022

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