Age of (Even More) Anxiety
To Worry Is Human; to Carry On, Divine
"Typical worries become torqued up," Mennin says. "If people were worried about their relationships or jobs or finances, these are the worries that become worse."
It may not be a nice feeling, but anxiety in and of itself is not a bad thing. Rosenblatt says that normal anxiety motivates people to take actions that can protect themselves and their loved ones. What he calls "neurotic anxiety" makes a person unable to act.
"Natural anxiety helps you make good decisions about how to live your life and pay attention," he says. "Neurotic anxiety has you hiding under the bed or giving up your normal activities."
Worrying isn't necessarily bad. We're supposed to worry when the going gets tough. It's a natural process. But there's a line that's easily crossed.
"When a person worries more of the day than not, and more days of the week than not; when it is starting to make it difficult to carry out daily activities; or when it makes the day so stressful you have no energy left, it is time to seek help," Mennin says.
How much worry is too much?
"The question to be asked is, 'Do I really need to be losing sleep over this?'" Katz says. "'Is it serving me if I don't go to sleep? Do I really need to be up at the window looking out?' If you are having sleep problems, appetite loss, problems with energy -- how much is this bothering you? If anxiety is getting in the way of going about your daily life or worrying you so much you can't stop, it is time to seek help."
Katz stresses that seeking help doesn't mean defeat. These are hard times. Sometimes it takes a helping hand to get by.
"Getting help doesn't mean you have a psychological condition or that you're crazy," Katz says. "If you have a physical trauma that breaks a bone, it doesn't mean you have some pathology. It just means you need first aid. So for an emotional trauma, there is psychological first aid -- something to help you get through this."