What is it?

Anxiety is when we feel worry, fear or unease about an uncertain outcome. It is the body’s natural response to stress – you know, the whole fight or flight stuff. But when does what is natural to us become a problem? When it is impacting your ability to live a fulfilling life, for example, it may be a problem for you if your feelings of anxiety are becoming really hard to control, are out of proportion to situations and you are avoiding contact with family and friends.

There are different types of anxiety, if what you experience fits a certain criteria you may be diagnosed with a specific disorder. The common anxiety disorders are:

  • Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD)
  • Social anxiety disorder 
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Panic disorder
  • Phobias


Symptoms of anxiety include:
● Feeling tense or being unable to relax
● Fearing the worst
● Problems sleeping
● Being irritable

Symptoms can also be physical, these include dizziness, feeling like your stomach is churning, stronger and faster heartbeat, faster breathing, aches and pains, sweating, nausea and pins and needles.

As mentioned before, if your symptoms fit a certain criteria then you may be diagnosed with a specific anxiety disorder – HOWEVER, it is also possible to experience problems with anxiety without having a diagnosis.


There are a lot of factors that may contribute to the causes of anxiety problems. These include:

  • Past experiences – going through difficult experiences growing up can be a trigger for anxiety problems e.g abuse, loss etc
  •  Social factors (i.e. current life circumstances) – problems in your life can also trigger anxiety e.g. stress, feeling under pressure, being out of work, money problems, feeling lonely etc
  • Physical/mental health issues – other problems can trigger anxiety or can make it worse e.g. living with a chronic physical illness or injury, developing anxiety while living with another mental health issue (e.g. depression).
  • Drugs and medication – anxiety can be a side effect of taking some medications for both physical/mental health issues or from taking recreational drugs and/or alcohol.

How Can I Help Myself?

  • First things first, BREATHE. Breathing is so simple but is always overlooked. Try to slow it down, breathing in through your nose for three seconds and then out through your mouth for five
  • Talk to someone – talking to someone you trust can help in itself, you might find that you just need to vent and be listened to
  • Look after your physical health – get some more sleep, choose a healthier diet and do some exercise!
  • Keep a diary – it might also help if you keep a diary of your experiences so you can look back at it, identify triggers and then be able to anticipate stressful situations and deal with them better.


Treatments include:
●  Self-help – this includes resources (books, worksheets, online programmes) that are specially designed to help you manage your anxiety in your own time.
●  Talking treatments – Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) focuses on your thoughts, feelings and behaviours and teaches you how to recognise and overcome stressful situations.