We all feel anxious from time to time, when an important meeting, exam or interview causes us to feel sick to the stomach, unable to sleep due to a racing heart and whirring mind. It’s a totally normal reaction to daily life, when we think about the potential negative outcomes of a certain situation. Usually, we just need to get through whatever event we’re stressing over and these feelings will pass.
But what happens if these emotions don’t just go away? When these feelings of stress and anxiousness are longer lasting (usually six months or more), higher in intensity, and the cause isn’t apparent or rational (despite being very real to the person suffering), this is when this is likely to be symptoms of an anxiety disorder, or in particular, Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD).
How GAD presents itself varies from person to person, but it tends to mean a person isn’t able to control feelings of stress and may feel unable to cope with everyday life. They often think negatively, worry more than normal and talk to themselves critically, but much more intensely than the average person. It’s a lot more serious than a few butterflies in your stomach before a scary deadline, and has a huge impact of sufferer’s lives, becoming de-habilitating to cope with.
Symptoms of Anxiety:
Again, anxiety is very individual to the sufferer, but the most common psychological symptoms are:
Being easily startled
Problems with concentrating
Difficulty in falling or staying asleep
Thinking the worst
As well as the psychological symptoms, anxiety can present itself very physically too – showing just what an effect your mental health can have on your physical wellbeing. Possible physical symptoms include:
- Stomach upsets, diarrhea or nausea
- Trembling and nervousness
- Heart palpitations
- Muscle tension
- Chest pains
- Shortness of breath
Causes of Anxiety
Although the exact cause of GAD is not fully known, it is thought to often be due to: over activity in areas of the brain involved in emotions and behaviors, an imbalance of brain chemicals, your genes, a history of stress or traumatic experiences, a painful long-term health condition or history of drug or alcohol misuse. Often, it’s actually a combination of multiple factors that is the true cause.
If you think yourself, or someone you know is suffering from anxiety, then reaching out for help from a professional is crucial. That can be booking an appointment with your GP to get advice or medication, or talking to a private therapist and considering CBD treatment.