What is anxiety, and how can you deal with it

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Anxiety United/ It’s been a difficult year for many of us, with many unforeseen circumstances we couldn’t have possibly imagined. There’s no surprise then, that our anxiety levels are at an all-time high, as discovered in a study by King’s College London. However, there’s a difference between feeling anxious and experiencing an anxiety disorder, and we’re here to clarify what it means to experience the latter. 

This article will explain to you what anxiety is, the main physical and mental symptoms, the different types of anxiety disorder, the main causes, and ways to cope with and treat anxiety. Whether you want to help someone close to you or improve your own mental health, we hope this article can provide some guidance.

What is anxiety?

You’ve probably heard about anxiety many times, but what does it actually mean to experience it? Anxiety is a common mental health problem that refers to being in a persistent state of worry or displaying excessive amounts of fear. Everyone worries about things now and again, but to suffer from anxiety means that worrying has a debilitating impact on your daily life.

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health problem in the world, with the World Health Organisation (WHO) suggesting that 1 in 13 people globally suffer from an anxiety disorder. So if you’re dealing with one, know that you’re absolutely not alone. Anxiety is more prevalent in women and young people, which could be for a number of reasons. While women are twice as likely to be diagnosed with anxiety than men, 7.2% of 5-19-year-olds experience an anxiety condition.

To find out more about young people suffering from mental health conditions such as anxiety, you can try our online course Young People and Their Mental Health by the University of Groningen, where you’ll learn ways young people can help themselves or others. Anxiety United 

Symptoms of anxiety/ Anxiety United

Symptoms of anxiety will vary depending on the disorder, but most anxiety conditions will involve several or most of the symptoms detailed below. The following symptoms will be most accurate in depicting people suffering from Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD). Anxiety United

Physical symptoms

  • Feeling light-headed or dizzy
  • Sweating or feeling hot
  • Increased heart rate
  • Panic attacks
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Rapid breathing or hyperventilation
  • Nausea or painful stomach
  • Aches and pains in your body
  • Feeling weak and tired
  • Insomnia
  • Changes in sex drive

Mental symptoms

  • Feeling nervous, irritable, or tense
  • Low mood and depression
  • Experiencing a sense of impending danger or fearing the worst
  • Constantly worrying about things 
  • Needing reassurance from other people 
  • Feeling like everyone is watching you
  • Derealisation: a form of disassociation where you feel like the world isn’t real or you’re not connected to it
  • Depersonalisation: a form of disassociation where you don’t feel connected to yourself, as if you’re watching yourself from an outside perspective

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