Everyone has feelings of anxiety at some point in their life. For example, you may feel worried or anxious about sitting an exam or before a job interview. During times like these, feeling anxious can be perfectly normal.
However, anxiety can become abnormal if it interferes with your day-today activities.
What is anxiety?
If being anxious means feeling more fearful and tenser than you would playing a game of high-intensity Mario Kart, than what unpleasant physical symptoms should you look out for?
For example, you may experience:
- a fast heart rate
- a feeling of sickness (nausea)
- the sensation of having a ‘thumping heart’, also known as palpitations
- shaking (tremor)
- dry mouth
- chest pain
When to get help for anxiety
If anxiety is affecting your daily life or causing you distress, you should speak to your GP for further support.
Anxiety is abnormal if it:
- is out of proportion to the stressful situation; or
- persists when a stressful situation has gone, or the stress is minor; or
- appears for no apparent reason when there is no stressful situation
Your GP will ask about your symptoms and your worries, fears and emotions. There are various conditions where anxiety is a main symptom, your GP will be able to infer more insight from the information you communicate with them.
The main aim of anxiety treatment is to help you to reduce symptoms so that anxiety no longer affects your day-to-day life. Your individual treatment options depend on what condition you have and how severely you are affected.
Treatment may include counselling, anxiety management courses, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) or medication, such as antidepressant medications (SSRIs.)
The primary aim of treatment for anxiety is to help you to reduce symptoms so that anxiety no longer affects your day-to-day life.
Alcohol and anxiety
Don’t be fooled into thinking that drinking alcohol is a secret ‘potion’ that helps to cure social anxiety. In the long run, it does not. Drinking alcohol to ‘calm nerves’ can lead to a drinking problem and may make problems with social anxiety and depression worse in the long-run. See a doctor if you are drinking to ease anxiety.
- Panic disorder.
- Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD).
- Mixed anxiety and depressive disorder.
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).