Anxiety is often identified as an intense uneasiness, worry or fear.
It’s completely normal to feel anxious about something like a medical appointment, a test or a job interview, and everyone experiences anxious feelings at some point in their life.
A little bit of anxiety can actually be helpful. For example, feeling anxious before an exam might make you more alert and improve your performance. But persistent feelings of anxiety can be distracting and exhausting and can be a sign of an anxiety disorder.
Anxiety only becomes a mental health issue when it stops you from doing what you want to do in life day to day.
Anxiety can have both psychological and physical symptoms. Psychological symptoms, listed below, can have a significant impact on how you live your life.
Physical symptoms of anxiety can also be significant. When you’re feeling anxious or stressed, your body releases stress hormones, like adrenaline and cortisol. These cause the physical symptoms of anxiety.
People with anxiety may also experience panic attacks, a sudden surge of anxiety or fear which can feel as though you are having a heart attack. Panic attacks aren’t dangerous but can feel very frightening.
Having difficulty sleeping and always feeling tired
Not being able to concentrate and being easily distracted
Being extra alert
Feeling on edge and not being able to relax
Needing frequent reassurance from other people
Feeling tearful and low in mood
Looking for danger (also known as hypervigilance)
Physical symptoms include:
A pounding or irregular heartbeat
Fast and shallow breathing (and feeling unable to take in enough air)
Loss of appetite
Feeling faint, dizzy or lightheaded
Needing the toilet more frequently
‘Butterflies’ or a ball of tension in your tummy
Difficulty falling, or staying, asleep
When severe, anxiety can significantly affect your daily life and can make it difficult for you to perform everyday tasks. However, there are treatment options available, which can help ease both your psychological and physical symptoms. These include talking therapy, usually cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), and antidepressants.
There are other ways to help ease your anxiety such as: