What is Anxiety?

Overview  |  Symptoms  |  Diagnosis  |  Treatment

Anxiety is not uncommon. Everyone will experience anxiety at some point in their life; it can be categorized by feelings of unease, worry and fear. Feeling anxious is a normal human response to an emotional situation. However, some people may struggle with their feelings of unease, worry and fear; it may remain at a heightened state causing great inner turmoil. This can be classified as generalised anxiety disorder (GAD), which refers to a long-term state of feeling anxious as a result of various issues.

Symptoms of Anxiety

Anxiety can cause a range of symptoms, psychological and physical, which tends to differ from person to person. As well as feeling anxious, you may also suffer from:

  • insomnia (trouble sleeping)
  • restlessness
  • feeling irritable
  • tiredness
  • detachment from surroundings
  • difficulty concentrating
  • fatigue
  • palpitations
  • nausea
  • dizziness
  • dry mouth
  • muscle tension, trembling or shaking
  • abdominal discomfort
  • headaches
  • pins and needles
  • excessive sweating
  • shortness of  breath

How is Anxiety Diagnosed?

Unless your anxiety is affecting your everyday life, then it is not entirely necessary to visit your doctor. However, if you find that your anxiousness is affecting your day-to-day life, and you may have GAD, then it is worth talking to somebody about it. GAD is difficult to diagnose as there are many conditions similar to GAD, like depression. Your doctor will talk to you about your symptoms and, depending on the severity, you may be referred to someone who specializes in the condition.

Treating Anxiety

There are various treatments available for anxiety, all of which your doctor will discuss with you. For easing feelings of anxiety, the first course of action recommended tends to be a lifestyle change. This may include, eating healthily, exercising, talking and avoiding stimulants like alcohol.

Your doctor may also suggest talking therapies, which may help you better understand and cope with your feelings of anxiety. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) has proven effective with suffers of severe anxiety. The aim of CBT is to give you a better understanding of how your thoughts, behaviour and actions are linked.

Medication is usually only offered as a last resort if other treatments have proved ineffective.