What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is a feeling of unease, such as worry or fear, that can be mild or severe.
We all feel anxious at times but for some people, they find it hard to control their worries. Their feelings of anxiety are more constant and can often affect their daily lives.
The information in this section is about a specific condition called 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.
Causes of Anxiety
The exact cause of GAD isn’t fully understood, although it’s likely that a combination of several factors plays a role.
- – 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 5 times more likely to develop GAD if you have a close relative with the condition
- – History of stressful or traumatic experiences
- – Having a painful long-term health condition, such as arthritis
- – Having a history of drug or alcohol misuse
But many people develop GAD for no apparent reason.
Symptoms of Anxiety
Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) can affect you both physically and mentally.
GAD can cause a change in your behaviour and the way you think and feel about things, resulting in symptoms such as:
- – Restlessness or a sense of dread
- – Feeling constantly “on edge”
- – Difficulty concentrating and irritability
GAD can also have a number of physical symptoms, including:
- – Dizziness, tiredness or headaches
- – Heart palpitations
- – Trembling or shaking
- – Excessive sweating
- – Shortness of breath
- – Stomach ache or feeling sick
- – Difficulty falling or staying asleep (insomnia)
Treatment for Anxiety
GAD can have a significant effect on your daily life, but several different treatments are available that can ease your symptoms. These include:
- – Psychological therapies – you can get psychological therapies like cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).
- – Medication – such as a type of antidepressant called selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs).
There are also many things you can do yourself to help reduce your anxiety, such as:
- – Going on a self-help course
- – Exercising regularly
- – Stopping smoking
- – Cutting down on the amount of alcohol and caffeine you drink
Book your private consultation
Our doctors may not be able to speak to you immediately. If you are feeling suicidal or need more urgent support please speak to Samaritans on 116 123 or call 111. You can also call 999 or take your self to your local accident and emergency department if needed.