What is it? Anxiety is something that we will all experience in one way or another throughout our lives. But at the core it is the bodies response to stress and leads to a feeling of fear or apprehension of something that could potentially happen in the future. It used to be an instinct that was basically there to keep you alive and would initiate a flight, fight or freeze response when posed with danger many many years ago. Anxiety becomes a problem for people when the feelings are extreme or last for prolonged periods of time. Anxiety can contribute to many other mental health disorders including things like:
Panic disorder (panic attacks), this is when someone can have unexpected panic attacks and the fear or anxious feeling is normally about their next attack.
Post-Traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), often linked to those in the army but is most defiantly not only for servicemen and women or veterans. Anyone can suffer PTSD and normally follows a traumatic event.
Social Anxiety is basically a fear of judgement or things that could go wrong in social setting. I personally really struggle with social anxiety especially when I have to make phone calls.
Phobias (there are many) are generally a fear of an object, activity or situation a person can find themselves in.
General anxiety disorder (GAD) is also a specific condition that many people suffer from and effects around 5% of the population in the UK, generally more women than men suffer form this condition with the it mainly affecting people 35-59 although in recent years there has been more reports of younger people suffering. Following the covid pandemic I fear that the numbers over the next few years will increase especially in the younger population.
Symptoms of Anxiety
Symptoms are different for everyone, but we can split them down into psychological symptoms or physical symptoms. Psychological Symptoms include:
Feeling nervy or on edge
These symptoms can have a negative impact on your life and some people become withdrawn from certain things including social activities, work or family gatherings. Physical Symptoms can be things like:
shortness of breath
Many different things can trigger anxiety and some people will know the exact thing. Phobias or events are very common but just as some know the trigger many people don’t. When they don’t know the trigger this can in itself cause more anxious feelings and worries. If you feel your anxiety is having a negative impact on your life then please speak to your GP as first point of contact and seek their advice. There are also many charities that can help people with Anxiety some of which are: