WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio — During the fall months, Air Force Materiel Command will promote its Mental Fitness Awareness Campaign. According to Comprehensive Airman Fitness (AFI 90-506), mental fitness is defined as the ability to effectively cope with unique mental stressors and challenges. One way to keep on top of your mental fitness is to understand anxiety.
Anxiety can be a motivator or response to the anticipation of an event, with symptoms like butterflies in your stomach, rapid breathing or a pounding heart. All of us worry about issues like relationships, health or money and have experienced brief anxiety caused by stressful events such as public speaking or a job furlough.
But some people may experience anxiety that is persistent, uncontrollable and overwhelming. If it is an excessive, irrational dread of everyday situations, it can be disabling. When anxiety interferes with daily activities, you may have Generalized Anxiety Disorder.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, signs and symptoms of GAD include:
• Persistent worry about everyday things
• Inability to concentrate
• Difficulty relaxing
• Headaches, muscle aches, stomachaches or unexplained pains
• Irritability, excessive sweating, feeling lightheaded or out of breath
• Having to go to the bathroom a lot
If you are experiencing some of these symptoms consistently, for at least two weeks, you may be interested in an anxiety screening. An anonymous and confidential mental health screening is offered on our website, AFMCwellness.com. Screening results are educational, not diagnostic, but are provided so participants may quickly and easily find out if a professional consultation would be helpful.
“Mental fitness assistance programs and services are available to members of the AFMC workforce and their families who are dealing with anxiety issues” said Lt. Colonel William Hubbard, AFMC Chief of Behavioral Health. “This includes professional counselors, clergy and health-care providers.”
Military OneSource is an option for military members, spouses and dependents. For more information, call 800-342-9647 or visit militaryonesource.mil. Active duty may also contact their local mental health clinic for services.
Civilian employees can contact the Employee Assistance Program for free, confidential counseling services at 800-222-0364 or via the EAP website at FOH4You.com.
For more information about anxiety education materials, visit AFMCwellness.com or call Hill’s Civilian Health Promotion Services team 801-586-9586.