What are Anxiety Disorders? in Mind

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It's normal to be worried or anxious sometimes.

When worrying gets out of control, it can be hard to stop and we can find ourselves feeling anxious all the time.

What are anxiety disorders?

This covers a range of different mental health problems, including phobias, Obsessive Compulsive Disorders and Eating Disorders.

The anxiety can be about something specific, like a fear of open spaces or worries about health.

It can also be a state of being where people are anxious about everything. This is sometimes called Generalised Anxiety Disorder, or 'GAD' for short.

What links all anxiety problems is an overwhelming feeling that something bad is going to happen.

How can I know if I have anxiety?

Anxiety affects different people in different ways, but common symptoms include:

  • worrying lots and not being able to stop
  • not being able to get to sleep
  • waking up too early
  • panic attacks
  • feeling tense
  • being short tempered
  • lost interest in food or eating
  • eating lots more
  • poor concentration
  • stomach upsets
  • needing the loo a lot
  • aches and pains.

If you think you have anxiety, it's important to see your doctor.

When is anxiety a problem?

If it goes on for a long time without stopping - 6 months or more - and stops us living a normal life.

When this happens, anxiety can often come along with other problems, like low mood, depression or panic attacks.

What should I do if I think I have problem with anxiety?

Speak to your doctor as soon as possible.

In the meantime, it can really help if you talk about your feelings.

If you feel you can't go on, get help now.

Call Childine free on 0800 111 and speak to one of their advisors about how you feel - it can make all the difference.

If I go to my doctor, will I get put in hospital or have to take pills?

People with anxiety problems are usually not given medicines. If they are, they will only be given them for a very short time.

Anxiety is usually treated by increasing levels of physical activity, learning how to get better sleep and with a therapy called Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).

CBT teaches special exercises that help people to control their anxious feelings and to change the way they think and behave.

Only a very few people with anxiety end up in hospital. It can happen if they can't look after themselves, have lost touch with reality or doctors fear they might try to kill themselves.

Further help and info

BSL Healthy Minds - Mental Health help in British Sign Language

YoungMinds - information about mental health and emotional wellbeing

ReThink - Young People - information and useful tips for young people on staying well and all about mental health problems.

Support In Mind Scotland - Support and action for people with mental illness - runs projects in many local areas around Scotland.

NHS Choices - information on depression

Find more help and support from AyeMind's helpful resources and contacts.