Anxiety

Anxiety is a natural and common emotion. It is a response to stress and refers to feelings of fear and worry. It is central to human evolution and signals that one might be in a threatening or a dangerous situation. When a perceived threat or danger appears anxiety prepares our body (‘flight/fight’ or ‘freeze’ response) to protect us. In other words, the feelings of fear or unease we experience in our body motivate us to keep ourselves safe, by fighting or running away from the danger. Once we are no longer in danger, anxiety dissipates and the body enters a relaxed state.

We all feel anxious from time to time when dealing with potential stressful or unknown situations (e.g., exams, interviews, starting a new job, getting married, divorcing, moving home). However, if feelings of anxiety become chronic and severe, then anxiety can be problematic and affect many areas of one’s life ranging from personal to social and professional relationships.

If you suffer from anxiety, you are likely to experience some or most of the following symptoms:

Physiological symptoms

  • A sense of dread
  • Bladder urgency
  • Blurred or tunnel vision
  • Dry mouth
  • Feeling tired, on edge, restless
  • Headaches
  • Hearing disturbance
  • Jelly legs
  • Pins and needles
  • Racing heart
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sickness, dizziness, nausea
  • Stomach aches
  • Sweating excessively
  • Tinnitus
  • Trembling, shaking
  • Trouble sleeping/insomnia

Psychological symptoms

  • Blanking out
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Dissociation
  • Foggy thoughts
  • Hallucinations
  • Indecisiveness
  • Irritability
  • Overthinking
  • Racing thoughts

There are different types of anxiety disorders that manifest in diverse way and often they are distinct diagnostically. These are:

  • Health anxiety
  • Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD)
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Panic disorder
  • Phobias
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Social anxiety