Do I Have Anxiety?

Asking “Do I have anxiety?” implies that anxiety is causing problems for you. Yet everyone has anxiety: without it, we’d have no warning for physical (and emotional or mental) danger. But not everyone experiences anxiety that takes over one’s thoughts or actions or disrupts living life in the way you want to live it. When that happens, anxiety has indeed become a “problem” instead of a “normal” human condition.

When anxiety interferes with your life it becomes an anxiety disorder. Let’s explore the differences between anxiety and an anxiety disorder and answer the question, “Do I have anxiety?”

Do I Have Anxiety Symptoms?

You’re experiencing anxiety symptoms if you worry about an upcoming event or a threat in your environment. Anxiety is uncomfortable, but it doesn’t last very long. It can be intermittent leading up to a stressful event and it can be intense if you’re faced with a threat. But it will go away.

However, if anxiety is not short-lived or easily manageable and it spills over into your daily life, interfering on a regular basis, it can become an anxiety disorder.

Do I Have an Anxiety Disorder?

The hallmark quality of an anxiety disorder is that its symptoms are disrupting your life. You are the judge of that, but many people overlook anxiety disorder symptoms because they’re like the symptoms of “normal” anxiety.

A main difference between anxiety symptoms and anxiety disorder symptoms is that the symptoms of an anxiety disorder are close to continual, even when there is no threat to your safety or specific future event to worry about. Additionally, symptoms of severe anxiety can feel quite scary and masquerade as heart attacks, feelings of suffocation, and more.

A visit to your doctor might be needed to clear up the question “Do I have anxiety or an anxiety disorder?”

How Do I Get Diagnosed with an Anxiety Disorder?

Only a doctor can diagnose you with an anxiety disorder. Your doctor will consult the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (an encyclopedia of mental disorders) before diagnosing you with generalized anxiety disorder or an anxiety disorder of any type.

You could take an anxiety disorder test and take the results to your doctor to start the discussion. And if you’re curious to find out the cause of your anxiety disorder, you can talk about it with your mental health professional.

What Can I Do if I Have Anxiety or an Anxiety Disorder?

Fortunately, if you do have anxiety or an anxiety disorder, there are many things you can do. Treatment for anxiety may not always be easy, but it is effective. Ranging from antianxiety medications to anxiety self-help (including an anti-anxiety diet), you have some control over anxiety symptoms.

Coping with your anxiety might involve changing your lifestyle but doing so bit by bit can be fun and easier than you think.


Gluck, S. (2012, January 11). What Is Anxiety? Anxiety Definition, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, January 22 from /anxiety-panic/anxiety-information/what-is-anxiety-anxiety-definition

What Are Anxiety Disorders? Retrieved on 2020, January 22 from

APA Reference
Holly, K. (2020, February 5). Do I Have Anxiety?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 24 from

Last Updated: February 5, 2020

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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