Anxiety is a feeling of unease, such as worry or fear, that can be mild or severe.
Everyone has feelings of anxiety at some point in their life – for example, you may feel worried and anxious about sitting an exam, or having a medical test or job interview. During times like these, feeling anxious can be perfectly normal.
However, some people find it hard to control their worries. Their feelings of anxiety are more constant and can often affect their daily lives.
Anxiety is the main symptom of several conditions, including:
phobias – such as agoraphobia or claustrophobia
post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
social anxiety disorder (social phobia)
Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD).
GAD is a long-term condition that causes you to feel anxious about a wide range of situations and issues, rather than one specific event.
People with GAD feel anxious most days and often struggle to remember the last time they felt relaxed. As soon as one anxious thought is resolved, another may appear about a different issue.
GAD can cause both psychological (mental) and physical symptoms. These vary from person to person, but can include:
feeling restless or worried
having trouble concentrating or sleeping
dizziness or heart palpitations
The exact cause of GAD isn’t fully understood, although it’s likely that a combination of several factors plays a role. Research has suggested that these may include:
overactivity in areas of the brain involved in emotions and behaviour
an imbalance of the brain chemicals serotonin and noradrenaline, which are involved in the control and regulation of mood
the genes you inherit from your parents – you’re estimated to be five times more likely to develop GAD if you have a close relative with the condition
having a history of stressful or traumatic experiences, such as domestic violence, child abuse or bullying
having a painful long-term health condition, such as arthritis
having a history of drug or alcohol misuse
However, many people develop GAD for no apparent reason.
Who is affected?
GAD is a common condition, estimated to affect up to 5% of the UK population.
Slightly more women are affected than men, and the condition is more common in people from the ages of 35 to 59.
GAD can have a significant effect on your daily life, but several different treatments are available that can ease your symptoms. These include:
psychological therapy – such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
medication – such as a type of antidepressant called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
There are also many things you can do yourself to help reduce your anxiety, such as:
going on a self-help course
cutting down on the amount of alcohol and caffeine you drink
Read how stopping smoking can improve your anxiety.
With treatment, many people are able to control their anxiety levels. However, some treatments may need to be continued for a long time and there may be periods when your symptoms worsen
I Help people overcome Anxiety, Trauma and Depression , allowing you to take back control of your life with integrated therapy.
Call Stuart for a no obligation consultation to discuss how your concerns – 07825 599340