In general, anxiety is extremely necessary for us – it has a mobilising function. If it is appropriate to the situation, it does not require any psychological interventions. However, there is a type of anxiety that hinders the realisation of daily functioning – then it is worth consulting a specialist.

What are the signs that should worry you?

According to American psychologist Dr Mark Travers, there are three signs that indicate it is worth consulting a specialist.

1. Feelings of anxiety do not disappear at the end of the day.

Research shows that in people who cope well with perceived anxiety, it disappears in the evening. In contrast, people with a strong tendency to worry and react with anxiety also feel these emotions strongly in the evening. In the study, 136 adults were observed for one week. In those with a tendency to worry excessively, it was noted that anxiety did not decrease as the end of the day approached (Cox et al., 2022).

2. Anxiety permeates dreams.

Another contemporary study tracked the dreams of people suffering from anxiety disorders. It found that there are a number of themes that recur in this group of people. These include dreams with the following themes:

– Being pursued,

– Being attacked, fending off attacks,

– Freezing,

– Verbal arguments and other aggressive interactions,

– Anxiety and fear of aggressive actions by others,

– Fear of falling,

– Being excluded and excluded in social situations,

– Death of loved ones,

– Car or airplane accidents,

– Failures.

In other words – the anxiety experienced during the day is also transferred to the dream zone. In addition, characteristics of these dreams were noted: more often than in people without anxiety disorders, former partners appeared

former partners appeared in the dreams, the dreams were fast (the action in the dreams played out dynamically) and were characterised by high emotional intensity (Tousignant et al., 2022).

3. Your anxiety worries your partner. 

Another study involving 33 couples in which one person suffered from an anxiety disorder showed that on days when anxiety increased it caused the other half to report concern about the relationship. In most cases, it was the partner who was supportive in alleviating the symptoms. It was noted that the support received had a calming effect, but if the usually supportive partner reacted with anger or irritation, this caused the situation to worsen creating a negative and worrying loop of increased anxiety and hostility. Another finding is that if the partner of a person with an anxiety disorder uses avoidance techniques, this negatively affects the quality of the relationship. The authors noted that if this is a frequently used strategy (avoidance), it is worth seeking expert advice (Zaider et al., 2010).

If you feel that your or your partner’s anxiety is no longer fulfilling its function, it is worth consulting a specialist.

Author: Anna Walter, MA, Psychologist