Anxiety disorders are a category of mental disorders characterized by feelings of anxiety and fear, where anxiety is a worry about future events and fear is a reaction to current events. – Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
Anyone with anxiety can tell you about the monsters they have to face every day, and unfortunately, the battle they fight in their mind can take a huge toll on their life. Oftentimes, this battle is going on without you even knowing it…
Many studies have been done on anxiety and what causes it, but it seems many people have more questions than answers. Truthfully, it seems to stem from a complex set of variables, which include DNA, one’s environment, upbringing, diet, exercise regimen, sleep schedule, and other factors. Unfortunately, many people in the U.S. and worldwide suffer from some sort of anxiety disorder. In the U.S. alone, approximately 18.1% of people age 18 and older have anxiety, which equates to about 40 million people.
If you have ever suffered from anxiety, then you know just how debilitating and exhausting it can feel. It wreaks havoc on your mind, body, and soul, and doesn’t seem to loosen its grip very easily. Spotting anxiety in others might seem more difficult, but the signs listed below can help you figure out if your partner suffers from anxiety, and how to help them.
Here are 5 signs your partner has hidden anxiety:
1. Your partner suffers from migraines and headaches.
One physical sign of chronic anxiety is frequent headaches. As stress creates muscle tension, including around the head, a headache can form quite easily. If your partner complains of frequent headaches that seem to come on for no apparent reason, they might suffer from anxiety.
2. They don’t seem to have much energy.
As mentioned, chronic anxiety can totally deplete the body of energy, as it already takes so much energy to have constant feelings of worry and fear. Anxiety can drain both the body and mind, resulting in fatigue and lethargy.
3. They use food to mask their feelings.
If you notice your partner eating more frequently, especially binging on junk food and processed snacks, then they might suffer from anxiety. People with anxiety tend to try and mask their feelings with some sort of substance, and many resort to food for comfort. Plus, when the body goes into panic mode, it essentially reverts back to a survival state. So, it makes sense then that during times of stress, the body would look to a source of calories to obtain the energy it lost.
4. They have digestive issues.
Chronic anxiety has been directly linked to poor digestion, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). When the brain is “not right,” the digestive system generally isn’t either. In fact, between 80 to 90 percent of the brain’s “calming” neurotransmitter, serotonin, is produced in the gastrointestinal tract. The result is two-fold: poor digestion and inefficient production of serotonin.
5. Your partner’s moods are unpredictable.
When our brain is inundated with anxious thoughts, we have very little patience for things that demand our attention. Note that is obviously counterproductive – it is far better to focus on things that are constructive than to allow anxiety to run amuck. However, for those with chronic anxiety, their default reaction is to “snap” or “lash out” when someone or something requires attention.
HERE ARE SOME QUICK, HELPFUL TIPS ON HELPING YOUR PARTNER DEAL WITH CHRONIC (OR GENERAL) ANXIETY:
- Eat right – a balanced diet is a powerful antidote to anxiety problems. Try to encourage them to eat as many fresh, raw plant foods as possible, and cut out processed foods and animal products.
- Get exercise – any type of movement helps. Try to get them involved in activities they truly enjoy doing.
- Establish a schedule – anxiety can quickly induce brain fog, but having a set schedule can help. Try to get your partner to follow a strict schedule, so that they can focus and have stability in their life.
- Stress management – make sure to encourage your partner to engage in some sort of stress-relieving activity, such as yoga, meditation, exercise, sound healing, aromatherapy, or even massage.
- Sleep – many people with anxiety have trouble sleeping due to racing thoughts. Help your partner to follow a set sleep schedule (turn out lights at a certain time, play relaxing music, light incense, meditate with them, etc).