Am I suffering with symptoms of anxiety?
Everyone feels anxious from time-to-time. Typically, it happens when we experience stress and tends to gradually subside after the high pressure moments have passed.
However, when anxiety or panic becomes intense and persistent, it can have a huge impact on our mental health and wellbeing. If you feel that you are suffering from the mental health condition, it is important to know that there is support and treatment available to prevent it from further affecting your life.
Different forms of anxiety and their symptoms
There are different types of anxiety, which include:
Generalised anxiety disorder – you constantly worry, feel ‘on edge’ and find it difficult to relax, which in turn stops you from being able to enjoy day-to-day life. The worry you feel may centre on particular things like health, social interactions or certain activities like driving.
Panic disorder – you have repeated, unexpected episodes of intense anxiety, during which time you may also have a panic attack. Over time, your anxiety can become more persistent as you worry about having further panic attacks.
Social anxiety disorder – you fear what people will think of you, which makes it hard for you to make and maintain friendships or have a fulfilling social life. It can also affect your ability to perform in front of people.
Specific phobia – you have an overpowering and incapacitating fear of a specific object, situation or event, which can cause you to avoid certain experiences and environments.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – this anxiety disorder is caused by experiencing stressful, frightening or distressing events, which lead to severe and persistent symptoms like nightmares, flashbacks and insomnia.
What causes my anxiety?
Typical causes of anxiety include:
- Stress at work, at home or in your relationships
- Emotional trauma
- Drug or alcohol use
- Childhood experiences
- Side effects of medication
- Being diagnosed with an illness
While some situations can cause anxiety, such as the loss of a loved one, divorce or overworking, some people have an anxious personality and can develop it for no obvious reason.
Support and treatment for anxiety
There are a number of ways you can work to combat anxiety during your day-to-day life. These include:
- Avoid rushing and having an overwhelmingly full schedule
- Try to stop yourself from being competitive and setting unrealistic goals for yourself
- Give yourself time for relaxation and enjoying your hobbies or interests
- Establish a good sleep routine
- Exercise regularly
- Avoid smoking
- Limit your caffeine and alcohol intake
- Avoid cannabis and other illegal drugs
- Create a list of all your worries and problems, then tackle the items one by one rather than allowing yourself to be overwhelmed
It is important that you speak to your GP if anxiety is affecting your day-to-day life or causing you distress. They will be able to offer you counselling or refer you to a specialist for treatment to ease your anxiety symptoms.
You can also contact Priory, as we provide therapy for anxiety, which you can easily fit in around your life. We also offer daycare or inpatient care if your symptoms are deemed more severe. The treatment you receive will be personalised and based around your circumstances.
We provide a range of treatments including:
- Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) – this helps you to identify the patterns of thought that have become distorted, helping you to challenge your way of thinking so that you can discover new and healthier ways of viewing situations
- Exposure – for someone with phobias, behavioural treatments like exposure will help to reintroduce you to the object you are afraid of, in carefully controlled stages
- Medication – when an anxiety disorder is severe and impacts heavily on daily life, prescribed medication can be used alongside therapy