Anxiety is a natural human response to situations when we feel we are under threat.
Our “fight or flight” response kicks in and our thoughts, feelings and physical sensations can be affected. When we are anxious we feel worried, tense or afraid about things that are about to happen or things we think could happen in the future.
It is completely normal to feel anxious especially while coping with stressful events or changes that could have a big impact on your life.
Anxiety can become a mental health problem if it impacts your life and hinders you living your life as fully as you want to.
If you have any of the following it may be appropriate for you to seek professional help:
· Your fears or worries are out of proportion to the situation you are in
· Your feelings of anxiety are strong and last for a long time
· You avoid certain situations that might cause you to feel anxious
· You find it hard to go about your life as normal or do the things that you enjoy
· Your worries feel hard to control or distressing
· You feel symptoms of anxiety on a regular basis, this may even include panic attacks
Effects on your body:
· Feeling dizzy or light-headed
· Pins and needles
· Feeling restless and like you can’t sit still
· Feelings of butterflies in the stomach
· Headaches, backache or other aches and pains
· Problems sleeping
· Breathing fast
· Fast or irregular heartbeat
· Sweating or hot flushes
· Teeth grinding especially at night
· Needing to go to the toilet more frequently
· Changes in sex drive
· Having panic attacks.
Effects on your mind
·· Feeling tense or unable to relax
· Fearing the worst, having a sense of dread
· Imagining that other people can see that you are anxious and are looking at you
· Feeling as though the world is slowing down or speeding up
· Worrying about anxiety itself or when a panic attack might happen
· Wanting reassurance from other people or worrying that others may be angry or upset with you
· Feeling as though you are losing touch with reality/feeling disconnected
· Reliving unpleasant experiences over and over again in your mind
· Worry about things that might happen in the future
Some common anxiety disorders:
· Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) – regular or uncontrollable worries about different things in your everyday life.
· Social anxiety disorder – fear or anxiety that is triggered by social situations such as parties, workplaces, or any situation in which you have to talk to another person.
· Panic disorder – regular panic attacks without a clear cause or trigger.
· Phobias – a phobia is an extreme fear or anxiety that is triggered by a particular situation or an object such as spiders or snakes.
· Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – this may be diagnosed if you have developed anxiety problems after going through or witnessing a traumatic event.
· Health anxiety – experiencing obsessions and compulsions relating to illness which may include researching symptoms or checking to see if you have them.
· Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) – repetitive thoughts, behaviours or urges.
· Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) – obsessions and compulsions relating to your physical appearance.
· Perinatal anxiety or perinatal OCD – anxiety problems that may develop during pregnancy or in the first year after giving birth.
If you would like some support with anxiety why not try one of our freedom from anxiety 1 hour sessions.