What is anxiety?

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What is anxiety?

​The Oxford Dictionary defines anxiety as 'a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome.' Anxiety is a natural human response when we believe we're under threat. It can manifest itself in a variety of ways in our daily lives - but what is anxiety?

The symptoms of generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) are both psychological and physical.

Psychological symptoms of anxiety

GAD can cause a change in your behaviour and the way you think and feel about things, resulting in symptoms such as:

  • restlessness

  • a sense of dread

  • feeling constantly "on edge"

  • difficulty concentrating

  • irritability

Physical symptoms of anxiety

GAD can also have a number of physical symptoms, including:

  • dizziness

  • tiredness

  • a noticeably strong, fast or irregular heartbeat

  • muscle aches and tension

  • trembling or shaking

  • dry mouth

  • excessive sweating

  • shortness of breath

  • stomach ache

  • feeling sick

  • headache

  • difficulty falling or staying asleep

Treatments for anxiety

GAD can be imposing. However, there are several different treatments available that can help ease symptoms. These include:

  • Psychological therapy– such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)

  • Medication – such as a type of antidepressant called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)

Many GP surgeries are now recommending self help courses and practises rather than medication for relief.

With treatment, many people are able to control their levels of anxiety. However, some treatments may need to be continued for a long time and there may be periods where your symptoms worsen depending on the situations you find yourself in.

If you or someone you know is suffering with anxiety, Anxiety Support are there to help. For more insights, take a look at our healthcare news.