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How to Spot a Person with Anxiety

October 20, 2016 Tanya J. Peterson, MS, NCC

The notion that it's possible to spot a person with anxiety is mortifying to the tens of millions of people living with anxiety disorders. With its physical side effects that can affect every system of the body and its strong emotional symptoms, many people experiencing anxiety have an added worry that their discomfort is evident to the world. Surprisingly, this guide for spotting a person with anxiety just might make anxiety sufferers feel a little bit better.

Can you spot a person with anxiety? People with anxiety disorders can worry that their anxiety's obvious. is it really so easy to spot a person with anxiety?Anxiety disorders impact people deeply, affecting thoughts, feelings, and behavior. Often, it seems as though anxiety completely consumes us and becomes our main feature. Certainly, then, anxiety is obvious to outsiders, making it clear to friends, family, acquaintances, and strangers that we live with anxiety.

In truth, anxiety isn't actually all that obvious to outsiders. The symptoms of anxiety are very real to those experiencing them, but as with so many human conditions, they're visible primarily to the person living with those symptoms. Just as it's not always evident if someone has a form of cancer or has heart disease or one of the myriad other illnesses that exist, it's not always blatantly obvious that someone is living with anxiety.

How to Spot Someone Living with Anxiety

Given that anxiety isn't always glaringly evident, it can be difficult to spot someone with anxiety. What type of person should you look for when trying to identify people living with anxiety? Look for the person who is

  • sitting alone, away from the group
  • standing in a group of people, engaged in lively conversation (Extroverts Can Experience Social Anxiety, Too)
  • giving love
  • receiving love
  • sipping coffee by herself at a coffee shop on her way to work
  • waiting in his car, gathering up the nerve to go into the store
  • lying on the couch at home, hoping she can leave the house today.

Is Spotting a Person with Anxiety Easy? Or Hard?

Anxiety looks like so many things. Many different individuals experience anxiety uniquely. Nearly 20 percent of adults in the United States live with an anxiety disorder in any given year, yet it doesn't seem like so many millions of people have anxiety disorders. People with anxiety disorders aren't all that easy to spot because they are, first and foremost, regular people living their lives (Five Character Strengths of People Living with Anxiety).

If you live with anxiety and are concerned that everyone will know, this is one worry you can put to rest. Anxiety isn't always glaringly obvious on the outside. To spot with certainty someone with anxiety, the best method is to start a conversation.

Let's connect. I blog here. Find me on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest. My mental health novels, including one about severe anxiety, are here.

APA Reference
NCC, T. (2016, October 20). How to Spot a Person with Anxiety, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, August 23 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2016/10/how-to-spot-a-person-with-anxiety



Author: Tanya J. Peterson, MS, NCC

Tanya J. Peterson is the author of The Mindfulness Journal for Anxiety, The Mindfulness Workbook for Anxiety, Break Free: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy in 3 steps, and five critically-acclaimed, award-winning novels about mental health challenges. She speaks nationally about mental health, and she has a curriculum for middle and high schools. Find her on her website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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