What Is Anxiety?
What are anxiety disorders?
We all have feelings of anxiety, worry and fear sometimes. These can be normal responses to certain situations. For example, you might worry about a job interview, or about paying a bill on time. These feelings can give you an awareness of the risks and what you need to do in a difficult or dangerous situation. This reaction is known as ‘fight or flight.’
Your brain responds to a threat or danger by releasing stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. Even if you have imagined the danger, these hormones cause the physical symptoms of anxiety. Once the threatening situation has stopped, your body will usually return to normal.
But if you have an anxiety disorder these feelings of fear and danger can be ongoing and interrupt your daily routine long after the threat has gone. They can make you feel like things are worse than they actually are.
Everyone’s experience of anxiety disorders is different. Not everyone who has an anxiety disorder will experience the same symptoms.
Psychological symptoms of anxiety can include:
(If you dissociate you might feel like you are not connected to your own body. Or like you are watching things happen around you, without feeling them.)
Physical symptoms of anxiety can include:
What causes anxiety disorders?
We don’t fully understand what causes anxiety disorders. But it is thought that the following factors can cause anxiety.
Your GP will ask you questions about your symptoms, and might ask you to fill out a questionnaire. This will help them find out how anxious you feel in social situations. They may refer you to a mental health specialist on the NHS. Alternatively, find a local counsellor who can support you.