What is it?
While everyone at some point in their life will feel anxious, for some people anxiety is a constant condition which can interfere with day-to-day activities. As opposed to feeling anxious about a specific event, such as an impending exam or job interview, those who suffer from anxiety are worried about a whole array of issues. Indeed, people who suffer from anxiety often struggle to recall the last time that they have felt relaxed as they have been feeling 'on edge' for so long,
As well as being a condition in itself, it is important to remember that anxiety can also be a symptom of other conditions, such as phobias, panic disorder and social anxiety disorder.
Although those with anxiety may feel alone, anxiety is the most common mental illness in the USA. Indeed, recent statistics reveal that around 18% of the US population suffer from anxiety. However, it is important to remember that anxiety is treatable.
There are a number of symptoms associated with anxiety; symptoms can be both physical and psychological.
Physical symptoms of anxiety include the following:
- Heart beating faster and stronger than usual. In some cases, heartbeat may become irregular.
- Trembling and shaking which can often lead to aches and pains in the muscles.
- Feeling dizzy.
- Difficulty sleeping due to anxious thoughts.
Psychological symptoms of anxiety include the following:
- The feeling of being constantly on the edge.
- Problems concentrating.
- Feeling restless and irritable.
While feeling anxious is normal, if it is causing you distress or having an impact on your daily life, it is a wise idea to seek medical attention. Fortunately, there is range of treatments available to help treat anxiety.
Most sufferers from anxiety are referred to self-help courses and CBT. CBT, short for cognitive behavioural therapy, involves working with therapist and spotting and countering thoughts and behaviours that could lead to anxious thoughts. This is one of the most effective ways of treating anxiety as it can prevent anxiety from reoccurring in the future.
There are also a range of medicines that can be prescribed for anxiety if psychological treatments prove ineffectual. You may be prescribed antidepressants or for short-term relief you may be prescribed mild sedatives for extreme anxiety.
In addition, there are a number of behavioural changes that you can implement yourself to help improve your condition. For example, regular exercise can help overcome stress by releasing tension. In addition, it is also a good idea to learn some relaxation or breathing exercises.
Some substances can actually make your anxiety worse such as caffeine, alcohol and cigarettes. Although it may tempting to turn to them for relief when feeling anxious, in the long run it may be more beneficial to avoid them and take a walk or practice relaxation exercises instead.