Anxiety and stress
Rates of anxiety and depression among teenagers have increased by 70% in the past 25 years, and according to MIND "45 million working days are lost each year through anxiety and stress-related conditons." Are you at risk?
What is anxiety?
Anxiety is an unpleasant feeling of fear and apprehension. Normally anxiety can be useful, helping us to avoid dangerous situations, making us alert and giving us the motivation to deal with problems. However, if the feelings become too strong or go on for too long, they can stop us from doing the things we want to, making our lives miserable.
How do you know if you are anxious?
- Fear of madness
- Fear of impending death
- Feelings of being outside yourself
- Feeling cut off from reality
- Worried all the time
- Poor memory
- Sleeping badly
- Inability to concentrate
- Abdominal discomfort
- Breathing heavily
- Difficulty swallowing
- Frequent urinating
- Muscle tension and pains
- Racing heart
- Tightness or pain in chest
- Tingling finger tips
It is quite normal to feel anxious when you are facing something dangerous or difficult, but it is not usual to feel anxious all the time or to feel that anxiety is ruling your life. Extreme anxiety is manifested as phobias, panic attacks or obsessive compulsive disorder.
When anxiety has gone too far...
Severe anxiety is similar to a 'false alarm'. Our bodies over-react, and respond with anxiety to something that is not threatening. It can happen if we exaggerate the danger in our minds; if we are under stress; or when we start thinking about past difficulties.
Severe anxiety doesn't just fade away; it can be so unpleasant that you begin to find ways of avoiding the situation or event that makes you feel so bad. Every time you succeed in avoiding the event your anxiety level drops and so in the short term you feel better. However long term you can become a recluse, avoiding any situation that may evoke anxiety and never knowing whether that danger was all in your mind.
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