Anxiety happens as a normal part of life. But for some people, anxiety persistently interferes with daily activities such as work, school or sleep. This type of anxiety can disrupt relationships and enjoyment of life, and over time it can lead to health concerns and other problems.
In some cases, anxiety is a mental health condition that requires treatment. Generalized anxiety disorder, for example, is characterized by excessive worry about a number of events or activities. Other anxiety disorders such as panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have more specific symptoms.
You may want to see your doctor if:
• You feel like you're worrying too much and it's interfering with your work, relationships or other parts of your life
• You feel depressed, have trouble with alcohol or drug use, or have other mental health concerns along with anxiety
• You have suicidal thoughts or behaviours (seek emergency treatment immediately)
To help diagnose an anxiety disorder and rule out other conditions, your family doctor or psychiatrist will take a detailed history and do a physical exam to look for signs that your anxiety might be linked to a medical condition.
As there are several types of anxiety disorder, your doctor will diagnose you with the specific type after a comprehensive assessment of your symptoms and signs prior to starting treatment.