Anxiety is a poorly understood mental health disorder, mainly because it’s hard to draw a line between what is normal and what is not. Anxiety is a natural human emotion in certain circumstances and scenarios. However, when you experience symptoms of anxiety even when you’re not in a threatening situation, it may be the sign of a mental health condition, such as generalized anxiety disorder. Here’s everything you need to to know about anxiety.
What exactly is anxiety, and how common is it?
An anxiety disorder can be mild or severe. Anxiety’s characteristics include feelings of unease and worry that affect you in scenarios that for most people are harmless. It’s normal to be anxious when you’re waiting for test results, go in for medical or dental treatment, have an interview, or you’ve got a date lined up. However, it’s not normal to feel anxious or uneasy all the time.
If you suffer from an anxiety disorder, you may be on edge even around your closest friends and family, and you haven’t got anything scary or challenging on the agenda. Even the simplest tasks can become much more difficult.
It can be virtually impossible to switch off and relax, one of the symptoms of anxiety. Up to 5 percent of the population suffers from generalized anxiety disorder. Anxiety tends to affect more women than men.
Coping with generalized anxiety disorder
Sometimes, it can be difficult to accept that you have anxiety because you may assume that everybody else feels the same way as you. It is normal to be anxious in certain situations. But if you find it hard to relax or constantly worry or feel uptight, it’s wise to see your doctor. There are lots of self-help techniques that could be beneficial.
Some people find therapies like meditation and hypnosis helpful. If you’re interested in finding out more, there are many resources online. Your doctor may ask you questions about your symptoms and do some tests to determine the severity of your anxiety.
In mild cases, your GP may suggest making lifestyle changes, such as doing more exercise and cutting down on caffeine and alcohol. In more serious cases, doctors may advise you to consider talking therapies and medication. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is can help ease symptoms of anxiety. CBT encourages you to adapt your mindset to cope with triggers and change how you behave to manage anxiety more effectively.
About symptoms of anxiety
If you think you have generalized anxiety disorder or you think somebody close to you may have a mental health condition, there are treatments and therapies available. Don’t suffer in silence. You needn’t feel embarrassed about approaching your doctor or confiding in friends or family. The sooner you get help for anxiety, the better.
Want to read more on this topic? Check out a recent post on three ways to manage health anxiety.