What is anxiety?
It is completely normal to feel anxious sometimes, as it is our bodies way of reacting to certain situations such as perhaps an interview or talking to a large crowd. However, anxiety becomes a problem when it starts to affect your ability to live your day to day life when you feel it too intensely. When it becomes like this, it can be a sign of a mental health problem. However, there is always help available with many types of treatment, therefore talking with a GP is helpful. Having anxiety can be mentally draining and change people's behaviours the point where they stop leaving their house and seeing their friends and family as their symptoms are that severe, this is why it is so important to get the help needed.
Symptoms of anxiety
Anxiety can affect you both mentally and physically.
Mental feelings can include:
-Feeling nervous, restless or tense
-Feeling on edge
-Feeling detached from yourself and everything around you
Physical feelings can include:
-Increased heart rate
-Pins and needles
The physical symptoms of anxiety can make people feel as if something else is wrong with them. For example, someone who is having a panic attack can feel as if they may be having a heart attack or a stroke, which makes them panic more. Anxiety symptoms can be really scary and should be taken seriously.
Types of anxiety disorders
When you feel overwhelmed by anxiety affecting your life, going to see your GP is the best way to see if they can diagnose you with an anxiety disorder; here are the most common types of anxiety disorders:
Generalised anxiety disorder
GAD is a long-term condition where you feel anxiety about a wide range of things, not just a specific event. Those who suffer from this feel anxious most days and struggle to relax.
Panic disorder is where you have regular panic attacks, with regular feelings of panic or fear with no specific reason.
Social anxiety disorder
This is also known as social phobia, where you feel an overwhelming fear of social situations.
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
OCD is when you have recurring unpleasant thoughts, and perform specific routines to relieve anxiety.
Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
You suffer from anxiety after a frightening event.
Causes of anxiety disorders
There are so many different factors that can cause anxiety disorders. These can include health conditions, traumatic events, drug or alcohol misuse, current life struggles, genetics, or personal relationships. There is no pin point to figuring out why someone may have anxiety for many people, and sometimes it can come unexpectedly with no triggers. National surveys estimate that one in five over 18, and one in three teenagers aged 13-18, have had an anxiety disorder in the past year.
There are luckily so many ways to treat anxiety, therefore it is important to make the first step and speak to your GP. By doing this, you can get the right diagnosis therefore meaning you can get the best treatment suited to you. Doing this may seem difficult to speak to someone or even leaving your home, however it may be possible to book an appointment online. You can also refer yourself for therapy if this feels easier.
Cognitive behavioural therapy
This therapy involves working through your thoughts, feelings and behaviour with a professional. They will help you deal with overwhelming situations in a more positive way, to improve your state of mind.
There are different medications to manage your anxiety. Talking to a GP will help figure out which one you may need.
Ways to look after yourself
-Talking about how you are feeling can make you feel better as you will feel heard, such as opening up to a friend or family member or calling an anxiety helpline
-Breathing exercises can help you feel more relaxed, these can really help people who suffer from panic attacks
-Looking after your physical health such as eating well, staying active and getting enough sleep can improve your anxiety symptoms
-Meditation can help put your mind at ease and help you focus on the present
-Joining support groups where you share your worries with people who suffer from the same feeling can make you feel understood
-Being around loved ones can put your mind at ease as you feel safe
-Going for walks is a great way to relieve anxiety and distract your mind from anxious thoughts