Anxiety is how your body and mind react to stressful, dangerous and unfamiliar situations. Anxiety is not always considered a bad thing as it helps us stay away from danger and makes us more alert. However, it becomes a bigger issue when it impacts on your ability to live life as full as you would like. Furthermore, when anxiety impacts on your day to day life, it can lead to an anxiety disorder.
Racing heart beat
Sweating more than normal
Rapid breathing, which is often shallow
Feeling of panic and panic attacks
Dry mouth and/or difficulty swallowing
Difficulty getting to and staying asleep
Other health issue or illness flaring up, like asthma or dermatitis.
No interest in sex or low libido
Always being in a bad mood
Avoiding situations or experiences that can trigger anxious feelings
Difficulty controlling worry
Feeling of impending doom, danger or panic
Needing constant reassurance
Being a perfectionist
Focusing on what can go wrong in any situation and being pessimistic
Anxiety can be caused by a number of factors and differ for each individual. However, common causes include trauma, illness and work.
Research has shown that if you have a close family member with anxiety you may be at a higher risk of developing anxiety. However, this is not specific to genetics and is about learned behaviours.
Difficulties which occur during childhood, adolescence and adulthood can trigger anxiety. For example, experiencing neglect as a child, bullying or losing a family member are all examples of possible anxiety triggers.
Work or being out of work can cause anxiety. For instance, financial worries, work place bullying or a lack of a work-life balance can all trigger or exacerbate anxiety.
Having a serious, long term or life threatening illness can cause or increase anxiety. Mental health conditions like depression can also increase anxiety levels.
Alcohol and drugs can increase anxiety levels. Both the misuse and withdrawal of drugs and alcohol can trigger and worsen anxiety.
Many people experience anxiety. However, there are many symptoms that can tell you that anxiety is becoming difficult to handle and support may be needed:
Feelings of anxiety are very strong and last a long time
Worries and fears are out of proportion with the situation
Worries are hard to control
Symptoms are experienced regularly
Enjoying life becomes challenging
Engaging in activities you like becomes difficult