If you’ve ever experienced anxiety, then you understand how overwhelming it can be. Anxiety can be described as an intense feeling of dread, fear, and uneasiness, which usually occurs when we’re faced with situations like a difficult problem at work or taking an important test. Many people who frequently experience this feeling often wonder, “does anxiety go away?” While anxiety usually goes away once a perceived threat passes, if you have an anxiety disorder, anxiety can linger well beyond a triggering event and can even become chronic or severe enough to affect your day-to-day life. Although the chronic condition can’t be banished altogether, there are ways to manage it.
Anxiety vs. Anxiety Disorder
Anxiety is a normal reaction to different kinds of situations and events in life. Anxiety is the body’s response to stress, threats, and fears.
A manageable amount of anxiety from time to time can actually be helpful, as it can alert you to a specific danger or motivate you to get something important done, such as studying for a final exam. Even happy events like moving to a new place or celebrating a milestone can bring up some anxiety about the future – it’s normal.
However, anxiety is a problem when it’s overwhelming, debilitating, and chronic. The main difference between anxiety and anxiety disorder lies in the source and frequency of anxiety and duration of symptoms.
Common symptoms of anxiety include:
- Feeling nervous, restless, or tense
- Increased heart rate
- Sense of impending danger, panic, or doom
- Excessive sweating
- Trembling or shaking
- Feeling weak or tired
- Trouble sleeping
- Trouble concentrating or thinking about anything other than the problem
- Gastrointestinal problems (GI)
- Urge to avoid things that trigger anxiety
Normal anxiety is usually related to a specific problem, lasts only as long as the problem persists, is proportionate to the situation, and is a realistic and appropriate response to the problem or situation. On the other hand, the anxiety that someone with an anxiety disorder experiences usually occurs unexpectedly is a stronger response than appropriate for the situation, persists even after the problem has been resolved, and may cause the person to avoid situations that may trigger the feeling.
Anxiety disorder is a mental illness characterized by intense feelings of worry, fear, and dread severe enough to impact your daily life. There are different kinds of anxiety disorders in which specific things may trigger people.
For instance, one type of anxiety disorder is social anxiety, which can be based on fears about your social skills, appearance, personality, or even the anxiety symptoms you experience. A person with a social anxiety disorder may experience an intense and persistent fear of being watched or judged by others, which can become intense enough to keep them from socializing, going to work or school, and completing other day-to-day activities.
Can Anxiety Go Away?
Many people who struggle with it often ask, “Does anxiety ever go away on its own?” Usually, anxiety does go away once the situation or problem has been resolved. This refers to that intense sense of fear brought on by a specific event. For instance, a person who may feel anxious about flying in a plane may feel better once they’ve landed.
Normal anxiety will continue to occur on occasion throughout your life. Sometimes, the occasional sense of anxiety keeps you safe or motivates you to prepare for the event or situation you’re anxious about. On the other hand, anxiety disorders do not just go away.
People with anxiety disorders may frequently experience these intense feelings of dread and fear out of the blue for no apparent reason. When they do come across a situation that’s anxiety-worthy, the feeling they experience may be so much more intense than what the situation calls for. However, a major defining factor of this condition is when symptoms keep people from doing things that they love or completing responsibilities like going to work and caring for themselves or their families.
This brings us to another common question: how long does anxiety last? For the most part, the answer depends on the person and the type of anxiety they suffer from. An anxiety disorder can last anywhere from a few months to several years, with symptoms fluctuating in intensity. While anxiety does go away for some people, it may be a lifelong condition for others.
Help for Anxiety
Anxiety becomes a disorder when it begins to interfere with your ability to function on a daily basis. If your anxiety about riding trains has become so intense that you won’t get on a train even if your job is in jeopardy, you probably have an anxiety disorder.
There’s also a condition referred to as high-functioning anxiety, in which a person may be able to function for a while but then is eventually overwhelmed by the intensity and frequency of their symptoms. Risk factors for developing an anxiety disorder include exposure to significant and stressful situations, family history of anxiety or other mental disorders, and health conditions like thyroid problems or heart arrhythmia.
Fortunately, while anxiety disorders don’t just go away, they can be treated and managed, allowing the person to live a fulfilling and happy life. If you suspect that you or a loved one has an anxiety disorder, our Palm Beach rehab offers outpatient and inpatient anxiety treatment in which patients work with our therapists to understand the source of their condition and learn how to manage their symptoms.
With the help of our team, patients will learn how to identify possible triggers, manage anxiety-inducing situations, and control their symptoms to prevent their condition from affecting their ability to function daily. By utilizing modalities like animal-assisted therapy and holistic treatment, we provide our clients with evidence-based treatment options to aid them in their recovery