Is anxiety contagious?

HOUSTON – Anxiety is the most common mental health condition, according to The Menninger Clinic.

Symptoms include trouble sleeping, irritability or worrying about things that have not happened yet.

It’s a natural feeling, according to Dr. Alton Bozeman with Menninger.

“It's part of our fight or flight," Bozeman said. "So we wouldn't survive very long, evolutionary, if we didn't have anxiety.”

Bozeman said there are different kinds of anxiety. One is chronic. In other words, it could be the way you are all the time.

“For instance, parents that have a high level of anxiety are more likely to have children that are anxious,” Bozeman said.

There's also the temporary kind of anxiety when something makes you nervous. For example, public speaking may make you anxious.

Bozeman said there's also anxiety you may feel just being around anxious people.

“If we're around a lot of people that are maybe going through experiences that make them anxious then maybe that's going to rub off on us, especially if we're more empathetic,” he said.

Bozeman said anxiety commonly affects law enforcement and health care workers who are consistently caring for others.

As much as we may try to escape it, using your phone for a distraction could make it worse.

“If you're at an event with your friends and you’re instead on Facebook instead of right there, that can also just in general not make that moment as restorative to your health care,” Bozeman said.

He suggested opening up to people, being in the moment and mindful of what you’re doing, exercising and being around people with a positive attitude.