Anxiety in Adults – Signs, Symptoms, Management & Prevention

Anxiety can affect people of all ages. While it is normal to feel worried sometimes, diagnosable anxiety can make life almost impossible to manage for adults. Counseling can help.

Anxiety in Adults

Anxiety in Adults in Brief

Everyone feels nervous or anxious occasionally. Anxiety is part of our body’s normal reaction to stress and other challenges that are unfamiliar. Feeling anxious before a job interview or an important presentation is expected. Adults may also experience anxiety when they have to make a life-changing decision. This kind of sporadic anxiety is typical. 

Diagnosable anxiety disorders look and feel different. Those suffering from a type of anxiety disorder find that they are unable to live their life as they usually would. Overwhelming fear and nervousness prevent adults with anxiety from completing daily chores. They often cannot stay in their job and continue building their career. 

Uncontrollable anxiety leads adults to retreat from their families and friends. They no longer enjoy their everyday activities and may struggle to find joy in any aspect of their lives. Anxiety disorders remain the most common form of mental illness among adults in the United States. According to the 2021 National Health Interview Survey, nearly 12% of adults aged 18 and over regularly worry and experience nervousness or anxiety. 

Studies have shown that the coronavirus pandemic has increased symptoms of anxiety and depression across the country. While it was already known that large disease outbreaks are closely associated with mental health challenges, 2021’s figures are exceptional. Between August 2020 and February 2021, the number of adults reporting symptoms of anxiety or depression grew from over 36% to 41.5%. 

Adult Anxiety Signs & Symptoms

So, how can families, colleagues, friends, and other loved ones spot anxiety in another person? And how can those affected determine whether their normal nervousness develops into diagnosable anxiety? 

There is a range of physical and emotional symptoms other people may be able to recognize in someone suffering from the condition. Those affected can look out for some more common signs of adult anxiety. 

Symptoms of anxiety in adults include:

  • Rapid breathing, sweating, and trembling
  • Avoiding social contacts and activities someone used to enjoy previously
  • Obsessively avoiding other triggers of anxiety 

Common signs of adult anxiety encompass:

  • Having a sense of doom or impending danger
  • Panic and uneasiness
  • Heart palpitations
  • Nausea and dizziness
  • Tense muscles
  • Being restless and irritable
  • Ruminating about the same problem and being unable to stop

Some of those signs and symptoms are like those those children with anxiety experience. They also overlap with the expertise of seniors with the condition. 

Causes of Anxiety in Adults

It is essential to understand that anxiety disorders are not signs of weakness. Like other mental and physical disorders, they are a form of illness that has often developed over time, although experiencing trauma can be a factor.

Medical experts often summarize the causes of anxiety in adults into different categories:

  • Genetics: An adult whose parents, grandparents, or siblings have an anxiety disorder may be more likely to develop the condition, too. 
  • Environmental factors: Living through childhood neglect or abuse may trigger anxiety later in life. Other types of trauma, like death or loss and exposure to violence, can cause the same reaction. Adults might not necessarily develop anxiety straight away after the event. Nevertheless, the trauma and the mental health condition are closely connected. 
  • Chemical imbalances in the brain: Some research suggests that unbalanced brain chemicals can influence the development of anxiety. Prolonged stress may lead to changes in the brain chemicals that control a person’s mood. It is how stress can lead to anxiety.
  • Alcohol and substance abuse: Anxiety disorders have been closely associated with the abuse of alcohol and other substances. Some drugs may mask anxiety symptoms, but this effect is only temporary.

It is not uncommon for an adult’s anxiety disorder to be caused by more than one of the triggers above. 

Treatment of Anxiety in Adults

Treating adult anxiety successfully starts with diagnosing the condition. Not everyone affected by anxiety and other mental health conditions receives the support and treatment they need. Often, this lack of care stems from a lack of diagnosis. 

Everyone experiences anxiety differently. Therefore, the treatment approach needs to be customized and personalized. Anxiety counseling has been proven to be one of the most successful forms of treatment. Most counselors follow a series of steps and apply personalization within those:

  • Assessment and diagnosis: There are different types of anxiety disorders, and it is vital to diagnose adult anxiety correctly. Counselors must also assess the underlying causes of a person’s mental health concerns before looking for solutions.
  • Treatment plan: Based on their initial assessment, counselors will develop a personalized treatment plan for their clients. It will include the talk therapy they recommend and potentially estimate the number of sessions required. 
  • Counseling sessions: During the sessions, the counselor and client further explore the underlying causes of the condition and work on coping mechanisms. 
  • Review and adjustment: Throughout the treatment, counselors will regularly review their clients’ progress and adjust their approach, if necessary.  

Effects of Anxiety in Adults 

Normal feelings of nervousness and fear are generally fleeting. They do not last long enough to impact an adult’s life. 

On the other hand, anxiety disorders are often life-changing. They make it impossible for an adult to pursue their career, and many find they must give up employment completely – at least temporarily. 

Adult anxiety also poses challenges to the families of sufferers. As the affected adult continues to withdraw from close family members, children might also begin to suffer. Medical experts have found connections between childhood anxiety and growing up with parents that suffer from the condition.

Adults with anxiety struggle to maintain friendships and other social connections. They avoid situations that may trigger their anxiety to a point where they lose touch with others. However, this lack of social contact can be even more detrimental to their mental health. 

How does Truecare’s Anxiety Counseling Help Adults?

Alongside medication, counseling is one of the most effective treatment options for anxiety. Counseling sessions are beneficial both on their own and combined with anxiety medication. TrueCare offers a unique, adaptive approach to counseling that makes it easy for affected adults to get the help and support they need. 

TrueCare offers both online and offline counseling. Online counseling sessions were the only option to access professional support during the pandemic. They remain popular because of the convenience of accessing support from anywhere, at any time. 

Some adults find it easier to connect with and open up to a counselor in person. Those individuals can choose between visiting their counselor’s practice or receiving in-home counseling.

It is also possible to combine online and in-person counseling, depending on a person’s condition and preferences. TrueCare has built an extensive network of qualified and experienced counselors across the United States, making it easy to find the proper support where and when you need it.

FAQs on Anxiety in Adults

What causes anxiety in adults? 

Experiencing trauma may cause an adult to develop an anxiety disorder. The condition may not appear immediately but develops during adulthood in response to childhood trauma, for example. Other causes include altered brain chemistry due to prolonged stress. Alcohol abuse can also contribute to the onset of anxiety. 

How many adults are affected by this condition?

Anxiety is one of the most prevalent mental health conditions in the United States. Recent statistics suggest that nearly 12% of adults regularly worry or experience anxiety symptoms. The coronavirus pandemic further increased these issues.

How can anxiety in adults be treated?

Anxiety counseling is one of the most effective treatments for anxiety disorders. Counseling addresses the root causes that are underlying the condition and helps sufferers develop coping strategies that last in the long term. Counseling may also be combined with anti-anxiety medication to address acute symptoms. 

Are adults the only age group affected by anxiety disorders?

No. Anxiety disorders can affect all age groups. Causes, signs, and symptoms may differ between anxiety in children, adults, and seniors. But the condition can be life-changing and debilitating at any age.

How does TrueCare’s approach to counseling help?

TrueCare’s approach to counseling is unique, with counselors adapting their treatment to each client. Sessions are available online and offline and can be scheduled to suit the patient. Due to the nationwide network of specialists, there are no wait lists and other delays. Clients can access care when they need it. 

About TrueCare™

TrueCare™ is a nationwide Health & Wellness platform for families and businesses providing end-to-end solutions for COVID-19 testing, screening, vaccination, home care, and corporate well-being services.

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