About one in 10 people will experience anxiety or phobias at some point in their lives, however most of these people will never ask for help.
Anxiety can be a normal feeling we all experience if we’re feeling worried or threatened by a situation. It usually stops when we either get used to the situation, the situation changes or we leave the situation. In small doses, anxiety can be helpful by keeping us alert and performing well however, if it is too intense, lasts too long, it can impact on your mental health and interfere with your life. You might then be suffering from an anxiety disorder.
Kinds of anxiety disorder
- Generalised anxiety: This is when someone experiences symptoms of anxiety most of the time, and in a variety of situations.
- Panic attacks: These are sudden, intense, and unpredictable attacks of anxiety. They start very quickly and usually peak within 10 minutes. People might describe feeling like they are going to die or becoming short of breath.
- Phobias: These are severe worries caused by something that isn’t actually that dangerous and doesn’t tend to cause most people too much bother. Common phobias include agoraphobia (a fear of going out where there are other people) and social phobia (a fear of being with, and talking to other people).
What does anxiety feel like?
In your mind
- Feeling worried or frightened
- Having trouble concentrating
- Feeling tired and having trouble sleeping
- Feeling irritable
- Feeling sad or depressed
In your body
- Dry mouth
- Muscle tension and pain
- Fast or irregular heart beat (palpitations)
- Shortness of breath
- Chest tightness
- Numbness or tingling sensations
- Feeling dizzy or faint
- Tummy trouble (nausea, diarrhoea, cramps)
How can I get help?
It’s common for people to mistake anxiety symptoms for signs of serious physical illness. Anxiety symptoms can also make existing physical problems seem much worse. Imagine the example of muscle tension making someone’s joint pain worse and then having excessive worries about moving about and keeping active.
Anxiety symptoms are common, and many people can overcome it or learn to cope with it with the following help: