Some examples of anxiety disorders include :. There are many different factors that may contribute to the development of mental health problems like anxiety disorders. There are a range of approaches for treatment and management of anxiety disorders, and the most appropriate method will vary depending on the type and severity of anxiety disorder, and personal circumstances.
This can involve working through thoughts, feelings and behaviours with a clinical psychologist or other mental health professional in regular sessions over a set period of time. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy CBT which helps to teach strategies for recognising and overcoming distressing or anxious thoughts, is one of the most common therapies for treatment and management of anxiety disorders 2,3,5. This involves specially-designed resources like information sheets, workbooks, exercises, or online programmes and courses to support people to manage their feelings of anxiety in their own time.
Some of these approaches may involve the support of a therapist or other mental health professional, and some may be entirely self-led Group sessions with other individuals experiencing similar problems where people can work through ways of managing anxiety. Some groups may involve the support of a therapist or other mental health professional 2. Your GP or other healthcare provider can discuss different medication options to manage both the physical and psychological symptoms of anxiety.
There is a range of medication that can be used to manage anxiety and it is important to discuss with your GP which one would be most appropriate for your circumstances 2. For more information about medication for anxiety disorders, visit the NHS Choices website.
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There may be other treatments or approaches available that are not outlined here. If you are considering support for anxiety disorders, we recommend getting in touch with your GP or primary care provider to discuss which approach may be best for you. PODCAST Quick relaxation and breathing exercises which you can do anywhere to help clear your mind, reduce stress, and improve your mental health. For example, you may feel worried and anxious about sitting an exam or having a medical test or job interview.
During times like these, feeling anxious can be perfectly normal. However, some people find it hard to control their worries. Their feelings of anxiety are more constant and can often affect their daily life.
Anxiety is the main symptom of several conditions, including panic disorder, phobias, post-traumatic stress disorder and social anxiety disorder social phobia. However, the information in this section is about a specific condition called generalised anxiety disorder GAD. GAD is a long-term condition that causes you to feel anxious about a wide range of situations and issues, rather than one specific event.
People with GAD feel anxious most days and often struggle to remember the last time they felt relaxed. GAD can cause both psychological mental and physical symptoms. These vary from person to person, but can include feeling restless or worried and having trouble concentrating or sleeping. Read about the symptoms of GAD. Although feelings of anxiety at certain times are completely normal, you should see your GP if anxiety is affecting your daily life or is causing you distress. Your GP will ask you about your symptoms and your worries, fears and emotions to try to find out if you could have GAD.
Read more about diagnosing GAD.
The exact cause of GAD is not fully understood, although it's likely that a combination of several factors plays a role. Research has suggested these may include:. Slightly more women are affected than men, and the condition is more common in people between the ages of 35 and GAD can have a significant effect on your daily life, but several different treatments are available that can help ease your symptoms.
These include:. There are also many things you can do yourself to help reduce your anxiety, such as going on a self-help course, exercising regularly, stopping smoking and cutting down on the amount of alcohol and caffeine you drink. With treatment, many people are able to control their levels of anxiety. However, some treatments may need to be continued for a long time and there may be periods where your symptoms worsen. How severe the symptoms are varies from person to person. Some people have only one or two symptoms, while others have many more.
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GAD can cause a change in your behaviour and the way you think and feel about things, resulting in symptoms such as:. Your symptoms may cause you to withdraw from social contact seeing your family and friends to avoid feelings of worry and dread. You may also find going to work difficult and stressful and may take time off sick. These actions can make you worry even more about yourself and increase your lack of self-esteem. If you are anxious as a result of a specific phobia or because of panic disorder, you will usually know what the cause is.
For example, if you have claustrophobia a fear of enclosed spaces , you know that being confined in a small space will trigger your anxiety. However, if you have GAD, it may not always be clear what you are feeling anxious about. Not knowing what triggers your anxiety can intensify it and you may start to worry that there will be no solution.
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Generalised anxiety disorder GAD can be difficult to diagnose. In some cases, it can also be difficult to distinguish from other mental health conditions, such as depression. Your GP may ask you questions about your worries, fears and emotions. They may also ask about your personal life. Tell your GP about all your symptoms — physical and psychological — and explain how long you have had them for. You may find it difficult to talk about your feelings, emotions and personal life. However, it is important that your GP understands your symptoms and circumstances so that the correct diagnosis can be made.
You are most likely to be diagnosed with GAD if you have had the symptoms for six months or more. Finding it difficult to manage your feelings of anxiety is also an indication that you may have the condition. To help with the diagnosis, your GP may carry out a physical examination or blood tests to rule out other conditions that may be causing your symptoms, such as anaemia a deficiency in iron or vitamin B12 and folate or an overactive thyroid gland hyperthyroidism.
Generalised anxiety disorder GAD is a long-term condition, but a number of different treatments can help. Before you begin any form of treatment, your GP should discuss all your treatment options with you.
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They should outline the pros and cons of each and make sure you are aware of any possible risks or side effects. With your GP, you can make a decision on the treatment most suited to you, taking into account your personal preferences and circumstances.
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If you have other problems alongside GAD, such as depression and drug or alcohol misuse , these may need to be treated before having treatment specifically for GAD. At first, your GP may suggest trying an individual self-help course for a month or two to see if it can help you learn to cope with your anxiety.
This will usually involve working from a book or computer programme on your own you will be given advice about how to use the book or programme before you start , with only occasional contact with your doctor. Alternatively, you may prefer to go on a group course where you and a few other people with similar problems meet with a therapist every week to learn ways to tackle your anxiety.
If these initial treatments do not help, you will usually be offered either a more intensive psychological treatment or medication. These are described below. If you have been diagnosed with GAD, you will usually be advised to try psychological treatment before you are prescribed medication.
Studies of different treatments for GAD have found that the benefits of CBT may last longer than those of medication, but no single treatment is best for everyone. CBT helps you to understand how your problems, thoughts, feelings and behaviour affect each other. It can also help you to question your negative and anxious thoughts, and do things you would usually avoid because they make you anxious.
CBT will usually involve meeting with a specially trained and accredited therapist for a one-hour session every week for three to four months. Your therapist should carry out CBT in a standardised way according to a treatment manual, and they should receive regular supervision to support them in providing the most effective treatments. Find Help Now. Learn more. Read the report. Subscribe Today. Experiencing or witnessing war, a natural disaster,.
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Anxiety - What you need to know
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