Anxiety can take many different forms with physical, mental and
emotional aspects. These forms are referred to as anxiety disorders. Below are some links to further information on
some common types of anxiety :
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) - the most common sort of
anxiety disorder - see below
PTSD - Post traumatic
stress disorder - persistent symptoms
Specific phobias - such as spiders or flying
- fear of public or unfamiliar places
Dissociation - feeling unreal, spaced-out, mentally blank or
numb - usually associated with one of the other disorders and past
Sexual and intimacy anxieties - may be related to past sexual
trauma, performance anxiety self-esteem, sexual difficulties etc -
also see Sex,
sexuality & gender.
Symptoms of anxiety
Anxiety may build up over many years or occur quite
suddenly. Symptoms can be present in various ways, often unrecognised or
masked by normal ways of coping. Symptoms include:
Stress, worry, fear, or even dread
Difficulty relaxing or winding down
Sleep disturbance, headaches, indigestion, sexual problems
Frustration, restlessness, impatience, neediness or irritability
Difficulty concentrating or mentally blank
Nightmares, disturbing memories or flashbacks
Racing mind, random scary thoughts
Causes of anxiety
Stress : Significant life stressors often cause anxiety. Common stressors
include relationship problems, bereavement, relocations, health, work or
financial pressures, and family problems. While a certain amount of
stress in our lives is inevitable, continual stress is bad for health.
Stress is also likely to impact on relationships in the form of
irritability, withdrawal or neediness. Unaddressed stress can lead to
increasing anxiety problems and even trigger panic attacks or
agoraphobia (fear of leaving the house).
Trauma : Traumatic events to oneself or a loved one often trigger anxiety.
It is normal to be anxious after a traumatic event. Examples include physical injury from a car crash, work accident or natural disaster.
A recent event can also retrigger trauma from long ago. For some
people the anxiety does not pass with time. This is PTSD (post
traumatic stress disorder).The body and
mind continue to react as if the traumatic event is ongoing even if
the danger is not longer present.
Depression : Anxiety is often co-present
with some level of depression. The fear feelings of the anxiety plus the
sad feelings of depression can reinforce each other and become quite
distressing and lonely.
help in many ways including:
A safe place to feel heard, understood & supported