Anxiety and anxiety disorders

The basics of anxiety explained

Anxiety is a feeling of unease, such as fear, agitation, edginess or worry. The sense of anxiety can range from mild to severe, and the duration that it's felt varies between people also. We all develop feelings of anxiety at some point in our lives. For example, if we have a job interview, exam, facing confrontation, or even when we're going to the dentist! During times like these, feeling anxious is expected and nothing to worry about. However, sometimes, people find it difficult to control their fears and worry. Their feelings of anxiety are felt more often, perhaps regularly, and can impact their day-to-day lives, causing problems. Indeed, anxiety is a significant symptom of many mental health conditions, such as panic disorder, phobias (such as agoraphobia), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), panic disorder and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).

 What causes anxiety?

 Sometimes it's clear what's causing anxiety, and sometimes it isn't so obvious. For example, if you feel anxious due to a specific phobia, you'll usually know what that is. But if you have GAD, it can be difficult to pinpoint particular causes (and often diagnoses). Genetics, brain chemistry, the environment (current life circumstances) and other health conditions could all contribute to the causes of anxiety.

What are the psychological symptoms of anxiety?

The symptoms of anxiety depend on the specific anxiety disorder, but many of the conditions feature the same symptoms as GAD: a sense of dread, feeling on edge, irritability, problems concentrating, or restlessness.

What are the physical symptoms of anxiety?

There are many possible physical anxiety symptoms, which include dizziness, palpitations, trembling, fatigue, muscle aches, pins and needles, dry mouth, sweating, headache and shortness of breath.

How can I deal with anxiety?

You can deal with GAD through a mixture of psychological treatment – such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) alongside medication. Exercise, meditation, avoiding coffee and alcohol, sleeping well, eating a healthy diet and deep breathing are all natural ways you can deal with anxiety and panic attacks.

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