What is Anxiety?

Anxiety symptoms Anxiety is a feeling of unease, such as dread, fear, and worry. Everyone feels anxiety throughout their lives. For example, sitting an exam, driving test, job interviews, etc., and this is normal. However, anxiety can become uncomfortable and distressing when it is felt for prolonged periods. In some cases, anxiety symptoms can be debilitating, making it hard to function daily.  

Symptoms of Anxiety

Physical Symptoms of Anxiety
  • dry mouth
  • feeling restless or unable to sit still.
  • increased heart rate
  • tense muscles
  • pins and needles
  • feeling light-headed or dizzy
  • experiencing gastrointestinal (GI) problems
  • trouble sleeping
  • sweating
Psychological Symptoms of Anxiety
  • hypervigilance
  • difficulty concentrating
  • excessive worry
  • ruminating 
  • unwelcomed, intrusive thoughts
  • feelings of panic
  • feeling a sense of pending doom, danger, or panic
  • racing thoughts
  • indecisiveness 
Behavioural Symptoms of Anxiety
  • restlessness and agitation
  • panic attacks  
  • easily startled
  • avoidance of situations that may trigger anxiety
  • irritability
  • obsessive or compulsive behavior

Types of Anxiety

There are several types of anxiety disorders. These include:

Social anxiety disorder (social phobia)

Panic disorder


Selective mutism

Generalized anxiety disorder

Separation anxiety disorder

Substance-induced anxiety disorder

Causes of Anxiety

  • environmental stressors such as family issues, relationship breakup
  • substance withdrawal
  • genetics
  • side effects of medication
  • symptoms of disease

Treatment for Anxiety

If you think you might have an anxiety disorder, the first step is to see a mental health professional, such as a GP, professional who can provide a diagnosis and develop a treatment plan. 


medication for anxietyBeta-blockers do not reduce the psychological symptoms of anxiety; instead, they concentrate on aiding with physical symptoms such as a rapid heartbeat, palpitations, and tremors (shaking).

Antidepressants– some antidepressants, usually selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), are used to treat anxiety.

Benzodiazepines-these are only usually prescribed for severe anxiety that is highly impacting your life, only prescribed short term, usually through a crisis They can cause unpleasant side effects and are highly addictive. 

Pregabalin– Pregabalin is an anticonvulsant drug sometimes used to treat anxiety, particularly if someone has GAD.


Talking therapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), can be helpful when you are struggling with anxiety.  Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing (EMDR) is also used to treat anxiety and is particularly helpful in managing disorders such as PTSD.

Self Help

You can do many things to reduce stress and anxiety in your life. Exercise, relaxation techniques, workbooks, spending time with family/friends, and healthy lifestyle choices can all help to reduce stress and anxiety.