Anxiety goes beyond the feeling of being stressed or worried. These normal responses to pressure or stressful situations will normally pass when the fearful situation has ended. When they don’t and the anxious feelings remain without any reason or cause, this is anxiety.
Being in a constant state of worry of fear is a serious condition and can escalate to a point where you are unable to function or cope with daily life.
Everyone feels anxious from time to time, but for someone with anxiety, these feelings are difficult to control and may be present constantly.
The physical signs of anxiety can be difficult to spot and develop slowly over time. They may include things like panic attacks, hot and cold flushes, racing heart, tightening of the chest muscles, rapid breathing, restlessness or feeling tense, or on edge. These can be triggered by everyday activities or situations or for no apparent reason at all.
Mentally, you might display excessive and unexplained fear of normal everyday situations. You might start believing that there are impending disasters around every corner or you might start obsessing over minor issues or objects.
You might start avoiding getting into situations that make you feel anxious or display irrational fear of what used to be ordinary everyday situations.
You might have a generalised anxiety disorder if over the course of several months you have had more days than not where you have felt worried about a number of events or activities ; you have found it impossible to stop worrying ; the worry has stopped you doing normal everyday activities like going to work, seeing friends or family, socialising or going to school or uni.
On top of that if you also have felt restless, had difficulty concentrating, become tired easily, felt irritable, suffered muscle tension, had trouble sleeping or have felt constantly on edge, then you may be suffering from a generalised anxiety disorder.
Anxiety can also manifest as specific phobias. If you have avoided situations that would have placed you in a position where you would be confronted with your fear, then this might indicate anxiety. Situations like flying, going near certain animals, getting an injection at the doctors or dentist might all be the type of things you would go out of your way to avoid at all costs. If you are engineering outcomes that let you avoid the things that you are fearful of, you may be suffering from a phobia.
Anxiety can also be triggered by social phobia. This might be feeling nervous or embarrassed when having to meet new people, talking or performing in front of people you don’t know or being observed in public. I you change arrangements, or make excuses to avoid social interactions, then you may be suffering a social phobia.
Anxious and stressful episodes may also lead to panic attacks. A sudden overwhelming fear or intense worry comes over you, where you may display symptoms such as trembling or shaking, sweating, racing heart, shortness of breath, stomach butterflies or nausea, faintness, dizziness, feeling numb or lightheaded, hot or cold flushes, feeling detached from your body and your surroundings, fear of losing control or impending death.
If you have suffered episodes like this and have also been in a state of constant worry for more than a few weeks, then you may have an anxiety related panic disorder.
Another less common form of anxiety is obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
This is where you might perform the same activity in a repeated and precise manner in exactly the same order. You might be constantly cleaning or tidying and placing objects in exactly the same place in a specific precise manner.
You might be constantly checking doors & windows to make sure they are locked, constantly checking appliances are switched off.
You may also experience a brief sense of relief when completing these tasks, but feel the urge to repeat the same tasks just a short time later.
Anxiety is a serious condition and you should seek assistance if you believe you are affected by one of these anxiety based disorders.
There are a range of health professionals and services to assist you with your anxiety. Effective treatment is available to control your anxiety and make sure that it does not control you and your life.
You can seek help from your GP who will be able to diagnose the type of anxiety you are suffering and refer you to the most appropriate health professional to help you through this period of your life.
You may referred to seek the help of a Psychologist or Psychiatrist, a mental health nurse, accredited mental health social worker, occupational therapist, counsellor. It all depends on the severity of the anxiety and whether one of the talking therapies is required or if a medical solution is the most appropriate for you.
You can talk to any of the any of the advice services on our Contacts page, or make an appointment to see your GP to let them know how you are feeling.