Augmented reflection video showcases life with Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

An Augmented Reflection video, Let’s Talk about GAD, was shown for the first time in Belfast today to raise awareness of Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) – a little known but common mental health condition affecting over an estimated 50,000 people in Northern Ireland.

Based on insights from people with GAD, the augmented reflection technology conveyed to shoppers what it’s like to live with a constant ‘gnawing feeling’ that something is wrong,  which causes palpitations,  an inability to focus  and sleep disturbance.  At the Let’s Talk about GAD Augmented Reflection Live event, shoppers experienced some of the intense feelings GAD sufferers live with day-to-day, which can be very difficult to describe in words.

The event was developed and funded by Pfizer Ltd in partnership with Anxiety UK, a leading patient organisation for people with anxiety disorders.

What is Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD)?
GAD is one of the most common mental health problems seen by GPs in the UK. It is a long-term condition, with sufferers experiencing anxiety about a wide range of situations and issues for at least several weeks and more usually several months.  The anxiety often builds up slowly, with developing feelings of tension and stress.

“Despite the fact that GAD is one of the most common mental health conditions, only a minority of people tell their doctor about their anxiety symptoms,” said Dr Jim Anderson, Consultant Psychiatrist at the Ulster Hospital, South Eastern HSC Trust. “This means it often goes unrecognised and untreated. As a result, people continue to suffer with symptoms like unrelenting worry, muscle tension, sleeplessness and difficulty concentrating. It’s important that anybody who recognises these long term symptoms, either in themselves, a friend or loved one, talks to their GP or contacts Anxiety UK for support.”

Nicky Lidbetter, Chief Executive from Anxiety UK said, “The Let’s Talk about GAD campaign uses innovative technology to show the reality of living with this debilitating condition. Raising awareness in this way is a great step in getting people to start talking about GAD, which should ultimately improve the lives of those who are affected.”

For further insights about the condition you can visit a Let’s Talk about GAD video here. Anyone concerned about GAD is encouraged to speak to their GP, visit the Anxiety UK website www.anxietyuk.org.uk, or call 08444 775 774 for help, support and advice.


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Notes to Editors:

About Generalised Anxiety Disorder
GAD is diagnosed by excessive anxiety and worry, over a prolonged period of time and combined with at least three of the following symptoms.
•    Restlessness or feeling keyed up or on edge
•    Being easily fatigued
•    Difficulty concentrating
•    Muscle tension
•    Sleep disturbance (difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, or restless unsatisfying sleep)

Other signs and symptoms of GAD include:
•    Palpitations
•    Sweating
•    Racing thoughts
•    An inability to focus
•    One in 20 British adults is affected by GAD
•    GAD is most common in people in their 20s
•    Sleep disturbances are common among GAD sufferers; in one study over 90% of adults with GAD reported dissatisfaction with sleep
•    GAD is only diagnosed in around a third of patients

Several different treatments are available to address the psychological and physical symptoms of GAD; these include psychological therapy and medication.

Mental Health in Northern Ireland
•    One in five people in Northern Ireland has a mental health problem.
•    Mental health conditions can create a heavy burden on the individual, their family and carers.
•    The rates of people with depression in Northern Ireland are higher in more deprived areas, those who are unemployed and those with low education attainment.
•    The economic and healthcare costs of mental health conditions in Northern Ireland are estimated at around £3.5 billion.
•    General Anxiety Disorder affects over an estimated 50,000 people in Northern Ireland.
•    Mental health has become an increasing policy priority in Northern Ireland. Ulster Unionist Leader Mike Nesbitt MLA, recently received unanimous support for his proposal to build a new International Mental Health Centre.

Mental Health in the UK
•    One in four people in the UK has a mental health problem at some point, which can affect their daily life, relationships or physical health.
•    Mental health is the single largest cause of disability in the UK, responsible for 22.8% of cases compared to 15.9% for cancer and 16.2% for CVD.
•    Mental health costs the UK economy a total of £123.8 billion each year.

About Anxiety UK
Anxiety UK’s primary aim is to promote the relief and rehabilitation of people suffering with anxiety disorders through information and the provision of self-help services. We also strive to advance awareness of the general public in the causes and conditions of anxiety disorders and associated phobias.

Anxiety UK’s services include national helplines that are staffed by volunteers with personal experience of anxiety, access to talking therapies, a community of support and advice and a Manchester-based peer mentoring service.

Anxiety UK receives more than 15,000 calls to the helpline and requests for support via email each year and more than 30,000 new visitors to their website a month. Since 1970, the charity has provided essential support to more than 1 million people throughout the UK.

To learn more, please visit us at www.anxietyuk.org.uk.

About Pfizer
Pfizer: Working Together for a Healthier World™

At Pfizer, we apply science and our global resources to improve health and well-being at every stage of life. We strive to set the standard for quality, safety and value in the discovery, development and manufacturing of medicines. Our diversified global health care portfolio includes biologic and small molecule medicines and vaccines, as well as many of the world’s best-known consumer products. Every day, Pfizer colleagues work to advance wellness, prevention, treatments and cures that challenge the most feared diseases of our time. Consistent with our responsibility as the world’s leading biopharmaceutical company, we also collaborate with health care providers, governments and local communities to support and expand access to reliable, affordable health care around the world. For more than 150 years, Pfizer has worked to make a difference for all who rely on us. In the UK, Pfizer has its business headquarters in Surrey and is a major supplier of medicines to the NHS. To learn more about our commitments, please visit us at www.pfizer.co.uk.

References available upon request