What Not To Overlook
And don't overlook these emotional symptoms...
Of course, we all feel anxious, angry, or down sometimes. But how do you know if your feelings are getting the better of you? If you have any of these kinds of symptoms, it's the right time to seek help, says Ellyn Kaschak, Ph.D., professor of psychology at San Jose State University:
* A significant change in your day-to-day personality. For example, you've always been easygoing, but lately you've been getting angry more easily or feeling unusually frustrated.
* People who are close to you comment on your behavior or say you just don't seem like yourself.
* Disturbing emotions are surfacing more frequently or not going away. If you've been feeling unusually sad, anxious, or mad for weeks rather than for a day or two, make an appointment with your primary-care physician, who can then refer you to a therapist.
Anxiety, depression, and anger are the most common emotional problems, and you can pinpoint each by the following signs:
You may have anxiety problems if...
* You avoid situations, such as meeting with your child's teacher, because you fear you'll run into certain people there. And the number of situations you avoid is growing.
* You wake up often with nightmares or panic symptoms, such as a racing heart, feeling hot all over, trembling, or sweating.
* You find yourself worrying all the time -- even about things over which you have no control, such as whether your child will develop a life-threatening disease.
You may be depressed if...
* You get little or no pleasure out of doing things that used to make you happy, such as spending time with family or friends, or a hobby.
* You feel lethargic.
* You're sleeping or eating more or less than usual, especially to avoid facing your problems.
* You're feeling stressed to the point where you're forgetting things.
* You're shying away from people, even your kids and your husband, preferring to be alone almost all the time.
You may have anger problems if...
* You're yelling at your children more than usual.
* You've fantasized about hitting your kids, stopped yourself from doing so, or have hit them.
* You resent your kids or blame them for things they didn't do -- or can't really help doing.
* You have trouble keeping perspective; your child spills juice on the floor, and as you clean it up, you yell, "You're ruining my life!"
* Your rage is affecting other relationships too.
* You don't get over things quickly; anger builds, even after an incident has passed.
"For each of these problems, even short-term therapy -- ten sessions or less -- can be very helpful. So can, in some cases, short-term use of medication," says Kaschak. Problems usually occur together -- you feel both anxious and blue, or depressed and very mad. Often, treating one negative emotion helps the others.