Most people experience feelings of anxiety before an important event such as a big exam, business presentation or first date. Anxiety disorders; however, are illnesses that fill people’s lives with overwhelming anxiety and fear that is chronic, unremitting and can grow progressively worse. The National Institute of Mental Health provides a detailed booklet that describes the symptoms, causes and treatments of the major anxiety disorders, with information on getting help and coping.
“Social Anxiety,” which some people dismiss as “shyness” can be debilitating and limit you from activities you’d like to enjoy or people you’d like to meet. The fear of looking silly or saying something “stupid” can limit us and reduce the quality of our lives.
The University of Buffalo Counseling Services web site has an entire section devoted entirely to Test Anxiety! It also has suggestions for how to arrange your study area most effectively (75 watt bulb is best and on the side of the dominant hand), how to confront your test anxiety head on, how to cope with the feeling of being overwhelmed and some ideas for self-affirming statements (which is healthy “self-talk”) to help calm you.
Another website you can visit for ideas to manage test anxiety is Intervention Central. It includes effective study habits, tips to memorize content and reduce anxiety along with effective test-taking strategies.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is characterized by persistent, excessive, and unrealistic worry about everyday things. If you suspect you might suffer from GAD, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America offers on-line screening. Just print out the results and make an appointment at the UIS Counseling Center to share your results with a counselor.
Panic Disorder is diagnosed in people who experence spontaneous panic attacks and are preoccupied with the fear of a recurring attack. Panic attachs occur unexpectedly and sometimes even during sleep. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America website contains downloadable charts found in Facing Panic, Self-Help for People with Panic Attacks to help you practice and track skills you learn to overcome panic. Contact the Counseling Center to receive a correct diagnosis and receive help in overcoming panic attacks.