Most people experience stress and anxiety at some point in their lives. Generally, stress is usually a response to an external cause, such as a tight deadline at work or having an argument with someone, and usually disappears or reduces once the situation has been resolved.
Anxiety is typically described as a feeling of apprehension or dread in situations where there is no actual real threat and is disproportionate to the situation faced. Unlike stress, anxiety persists even after a concern has passed. In some cases, anxiety can escalate into an anxiety disorder and can affect day-to-day life.
DIY self diagnosis
If you can answer YES to the majority of these questions you may be suffering with anxiety or a phobia:
- – Do you feel that you have been nervous most days over the past 6 months?
- – Do you have problems falling asleep? Do you have bad dreams or wake up worrying?
- – Do you feel that your body is very tense or uptight?
- – Do you often feel that you want to shout or feel frustrated?
Anxiety UK strongly advises that people seek further information and guidance from their GP who will be able to make a formal diagnosis
Anxiety can cause physical, psychological and behavioural symptoms as follows:
- Butterflies in the stomach feeling
- Shortness of breath
- Headaches and/or dizziness
- Hot flushes
- Increased heartbeat
- Increased perspiration
- Dry mouth
- Tight band across chest area
- Wanting to use the toilet more often
- Feeling sick/shaking
- Loss and/or gain of appetite
- Choking sensation and/or palpitations
- Feeling frightened/panicky
Fearing you might lose control/go ‘mad’/might die
Fearing you might have a heart attack/brain tumour etc.
Fearing you might be sick/faint/embarrass yourself
Fearing people are noticing your anxiety
Feeling generally as if things are speeding up
Feeling detached from your environment/the people in it
Feeling like wanting to run away/escape the situation
- Feeling on edge
- Taking taxis instead of public transport or walking
Making excuses to avoid going out with family/friends
Sitting at the end of a row in theatres or cinemas
Avoiding going out alone
- Always taking someone with you
Rushing out of situations where you feel anxious.
Only shopping when it is quiet
Using minor roads to avoid busier ones and heavy traffic.
Crossing the street to avoid people
- Under and/or over – eating due to changes in appetite