Anxiety is a feeling of unease, such as worry or fear, that can be mild or severe.
Anxiety is a condition that can affect anyone – regardless of age or background. Recent research suggests as many as 1 in 6 young people will experience an anxiety condition at some point in their life.
Most people understand what it’s like to feel anxious – whether it’s exam stress, things going on at home, public speaking, an important sports event or even a date – most people have felt apprehensive, nervous and uneasy. Some people can feel sick, or experience rapid heartbeat or feel sweaty. And that’s OK – that’s how your brain responds to anxious feelings.
However, for some people those feelings don’t go away, even when the situation that made them anxious has passed. For others, anxiety can be a constant issue, or be triggered by the type of things we do every day – like walking out your front door.
Anxiety can affect you in many ways with both physical and emotional symptoms. A few of the more common ones include:
Feeling restless or worried
Having trouble concentrating
Struggling to sleep – or having disturbed sleep
Feeling sick, dizzy or sweaty
Heart palpitations (that feeling where your heart is racing)
Change in appetite
There are lots of different forms of anxiety, which can affect people differently. Some you may have heard of include OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder), GAD (general anxiety disorder), Panic Disorders, Social Anxiety Disorder, PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and Separation Anxiety.
Left untreated, anxiety can become a real problem for some people – they can struggle to cope with exhaustion, and start avoiding certain situations. They may feel unable to cope, and start withdrawing from activities, and people, they like. A lot of anxiety disorders start in childhood – and the average amount of people can wait more than 10 years before getting help. That’s a long time to wait if you’re feeling unhappy and anxious.
The good news is there are lots of ways to help people deal with anxiety disorders, and lots of organisations and professionals waiting to help you. We’ve put together a list of some of them below.