It can be easy to miss symptoms of anxiety
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Here, experts explain what it can feel like to experience an anxiety disorder, plus what to do if you think you might have one.
Fact: Globally, anxiety levels are at an all-time high. According to The Social Psychiatric Epidemiological Epidemic. magazine test result Published last year, since 2008, the number of young adults in the UK struggling with symptoms of anxiety has tripled, which affects 30% of women aged 18 to 24,
According to the World Health Organisation, 2020 saw a further increase in the pandemic with the global rate of anxiety and depression rising by a whopping 25%. while wE may now be out of lockdown, thanks to the ongoing climate crisis, rising cost of living and global conflict, there is certainly no shortage of things to feel anxious about today.
Of course, experiencing a degree of anxiety is part of life. So it can be difficult to differentiate anxiety versus stress, or it can be difficult to know when anxiety is a disorder. Keep reading to find out the symptoms to look out for, and what to do if you think you need some help.
What is the meaning of worry?
First things first: a definition for you. According to the NHS website, anxiety is a stress response, which includes thoughts, physical symptoms, feelings and behaviour. On a biological level, this happens when something triggers our “empathetic nervous system,” more commonly known as our “fight or flight” response. This system helps the body either fight or flight by doing things like raising our heart rate (to get more oxygen and energy), dilating our pupils (to take in more light and increasing visual alertness), or making us pale or blushing. Prepares to fill. result of the flow of blood into our muscles and away from non-essential parts of the body).
When we need to run away from bears, this system works brilliantly. However, in today’s world, most perceived threats are not a physical threat to our safety, such as when we have to give a big presentation at work. Despite this, our sympathetic nervous system will be activated, and we may find ourselves confronting our partners with clammy hands, a racing heart, and a slightly red face.
“Anxiety is a response to the meaning of a situation, not to the situation,” says mike wardpsychiatrist and founder of Anxiety Clinic, “It can be temporary and occasional, which is how the body responds to exposure or danger.”
Therefore, during a presentation we may become anxious because we have assigned a certain meaning to it – we may tell ourselves that our job or reputation is on the line, or that our colleagues will think we look stupid, for example. But whatever our symptoms at the time, and whatever the outcome of the presentation, usually our anxiety will subside afterwards.
However, when anxiety doesn’t just come and go, we should pay attention. “When anxiety occurs every day, when anxiety becomes rumination — or disrupts one’s sleep, appetite, or daily activity — only then can it pass the criteria for an anxiety disorder,” says Ward. “It’s about persistence of anxiety, or when a person becomes so preoccupied with anxiety that they are not able to concentrate or change tasks.”
Keep reading to find out the main anxiety symptoms, and what they can feel like.
23 Anxiety Symptoms You Should Know About
did you know? Anxiety can present a mix of physical, psychological, emotional and behavioral symptoms, all of which can feed off each other, creating a vicious cycle. “It’s a symphony,” Ward says. “And it can be difficult to tell which symptom comes first.”
Here are some common anxiety symptoms:
Symptoms of physical anxiety:
- butterflies in stomach
- increased heart rate or palpitations
- hot flushes or blushing
- increased sweating or sweaty palms
- want to go to the toilet more often
- change in appetite
- difficulty sleeping
Symptoms of Psychological Anxiety:
- Negative bias (understanding negative things more easily)
- Catastrophe (worst case jump)
- intrusive thoughts
Emotional Anxiety Symptoms:
Behavioral anxiety symptoms:
- being unable to rest
- difficulty concentrating
- avoiding situations that trigger your anxiety
- Constantly looking for reassurance from others
- Missing work or events because you can’t cope
What do the symptoms of anxiety feel like?
It is important to know that each person may experience symptoms of anxiety differently. Here, 31-year-old Gemma Lupton from Sheffield, South Yorkshire, tells how she experiences them.
“Physically, my heart starts racing and it feels like it’s almost pounding through my chest. I’ll tremble and sweat, my muscles get tense, and my head starts to ache. It can help my IBS symptoms.” Also relieves pain, including cramps and the need to use the toilet more. I feel hot and clammy, which can turn me bright red, which embarrasses me. I feel weak – like I might fall I am, and I can often have ‘tingling’ in my fingers too.
Gemma has suffered from anxiety for as long as she can remember, but when she was in university, she was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety, and panic disorder. She continues: “Psychologically, my mind must be racing. Sometimes it’s hard to identify thoughts, which makes them harder to deal with. Other times, these thoughts will tell me I’m a failure or not worthy. Sometimes I’ll replay an uncomfortable memory or scenario in my mind.”
“It feels like things around me have accelerated but I’ve slowed down. I feel uncomfortable in my own skin and I feel exposed – like everyone knows I’m worried and judged me.” I will sometimes reprimand others for feeling unintentionally trapped as if I cannot escape. I will often go over every possible scenario in my head to prepare for a situation. It is as if I am in a state of uncertainty. I want to try to control as much as possible to avoid those terrible feelings.”
What should you do if you are struggling with symptoms of anxiety?
If this all sounds familiar, know that it doesn’t have to be. The first step is to talk to your GP to get help and possible treatment. After discussing your symptoms, and what may be causing them, they may prescribe medicine. NHS website There’s more information on the types of medications they may offer), suggest a course of talking therapy, or refer you to a specialist.
You may also consider starting therapy in private (see our guide on how to find a therapist). This can sometimes be the most immediate way to get help, as you may find yourself on a medical waiting list for several months.
Private therapy can be expensive – on average around £45 per session, and often more. However, there are lower cost options available. For example, Concern UK has a pool of 400 therapists that provide access to private therapy at a more affordable rate. Free Psychotherapy Network There is also information about places offering free or low-cost psychotherapy for people with low incomes and benefits.
Whatever you do, if you’re struggling, try not to minimize what you’re going through. “Anxiety in the UK, we get it” It can take years for people to reach out for help,” says Dave SmithsonOperations Director Anxiety UK, “They often live with anxiety for long periods of time, telling themselves that They are not worrying about anything. It often takes a while for that money to fall in.”
Just because anxiety is a “normal” emotion, doesn’t mean it should dominate your life. So whether it is through your GP, friends and family, or through a charity like Concern UK, make sure you are getting the support you deserve.