Anxiety is one of the most common mental health disorders in modern Britain. Generalised anxiety disorder affects nearly six every 100 people (5.9 per cent), while figures for mixed anxiety and depression are even higher, affecting 7.8 per cent of the country.
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is a part of daily life for many people; however, if those feelings of unease, worry or fear won’t pass, it may be that you’re suffering from an anxiety disorder. Everyone will have experienced a degree of anxiety at some point in their lives – perhaps before an exam, a job interview or during stressful situations like a house move. But some people find it harder to manage those feelings, and the anxiety becomes persistent. When those normal feelings begin to take over, and the ability to get on with your daily life is impaired, anxiety is usually diagnosed.
Anxiety can be characterised by cognitive, somatic (bodily), emotional and behavioural components. While it is a physiological state, it is often accompanied by a range of physical symptoms which only heighten the feeling of anxiety such as chest pain, nausea, headaches and heart palpitations.
Causes of Anxiety
As with many mental health issues, anxiety is little understood by the general population, and even doctors don’t fully understand its causes. Research so far has indicated that a combination of several factors may all lead to developing an anxiety disorder.
The factors that cause anxiety include:
- An imbalance of brain chemicals that are involved in mood regulation
- A genetic link. Those with anxiety may be more likely to have a family history of anxiety.
- Over-activity in the parts of the brain that dictate emotions and behaviour
- Living with a painful, long-term health condition
- Experiencing a significantly stressful or traumatic situation.
If you have anxiety, you may feel like you suffer from several, or none, of these symptoms. More research is still needed to identify the root of the problem to develop more sophisticated treatments.
Symptoms of Anxiety
The cognitive symptoms of anxiety will relate to your thoughts – you may worry that any physical symptoms you’re experiencing are the result of a severe illness. Small concerns may escalate into something altogether more significant, your thoughts may be more cynical, and you may feel less able to cope.
Many of the physical symptoms relate to our fight or flight response – for example, an increased heart rate, Goosebumps or sweating. The most common behavioural sign of anxiety in sufferers is avoidance. People will avoid actions and situations that they fear will trigger their anxiety; over-checking is also typical. The feeling of anxiety may also be accompanied with other emotions such as feelings of hopelessness, frustration and lack of patience.
Treatment for Anxiety
If you have anxiety, or feel that you relate to the above symptoms, then our team are here to help. We are based in the Harley Street area of London and provide expert psychiatric support. Reach out to us on 0203 355 3536 or fill out the contact form here to get in touch.