Anxiety: Symptoms, Information, Causes and Treatment


Overview: Anxiety in its simplest form is a feeling of being worried, afraid, or generally tense – usually about imminent events, or a predicted event. Anxiety is a natural feeling to have, and the majority of people will go through periods of anxiety in their life. However, for some people, anxiety is a constant problem which can be hugely detrimental to quality of life. Anxiety can easily impact someone’s ability to live their life as they would wish. Some people’s worries can be difficult to control, making it hard to relax. Anxiety covers several different disorders, including phobias. Post traumatic stress disorder is another form of anxiety, though we have a dedicated section for that condition. Here, we mainly cover Generalised Anxiety Disorder.


Anxiety can be an issue for many


Symptoms: There is no set list of symptoms for anxiety, as everyone feels anxiety in different ways. However, we can group them largely into psychological and physical symptoms.


Psychological: Feeling tense, nervous, endlessly worrying, difficulty relaxing, a sense of dread or fear, sense of paranoia, worrying about what might happen, needing reassurance from others, thinking you are becoming delusional, rumination, thinking other’s dislike you, difficulty concentrating, irritability.


Physical: Feeling light-headed or dizzy, tiredness, feeling restless, aches and pains, panic attacks, nausea, pins and needles, fast breathing, irregular heartbeat, insomnia, trembling or shaking, loss or libido.


Causes: No one knows exactly what causes anxiety problems. It is likely that many factors contribute. Past childhood experiences, including trauma, abuse, neglect or bereavement can trigger problems. A current life situation – such as a build up of stress, being unemployed, being lonely or having money problems can act as a trigger. Additionally, some other mental health problems can trigger anxiety – with depression the classic example. Anxiety has also been known to be a side effect of some antipsychotic medications. Alcohol abuse or dependence could also cause anxiety.



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Diagnosis: You are advised to see your GP if you have feelings of anxiety that are causing you difficulty to live your life as you wish. It can be difficult for anxiety disorders to be diagnosed, with a GP often needing to ask several questions to ascertain the impact anxiety is having. Anxiety has generally had to be present and had an effect on you for at least three months for a diagnosis to be made.


Treatment: While anxiety disorders are typically long-term issues, there are some treatments that can be used to help. It is worth having a thorough discussion with your GP as to your treatment options. Initial treatment is often self-help based, which is overseen by your GP. You will be encouraged to make minor changes to your life, which could alleviate the symptoms.


If this doesn’t work, psychological therapy can be offered. Typical Psychotherapy options include Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Psychoanalytic psychotherapy.


Medication can also be offered, though therapy is urged prior to considering medication. The medication offered to you will be based on specific needs. Ensure you keep regular contact with your doctor when taking medication. Medications offered are typically antidepressants. The SSRI class of antidepressants are generally prescribed. Finally, if none of these measures work, you might be referred to a mental health specialist.


Living With Anxiety: Anxiety can have a considerable effect on an individual. Those with anxiety disorders can find it difficult to function on a daily basis, including leaving their house. It can become easy to engage in a downward spiral, of which it can be difficult to escape from. It is highly recommended therefore that anyone suffering from anxiety seek treatment.