Anxiety is the body’s natural response to danger, whereby an automatic alarm goes off (the amygdala) whenever you feel threatened, under pressure, or stressed. . Everyone gets nervous or anxious from time to time—when speaking in public for instance, or when going through financial difficulty or when facing new situations. In moderation, anxiety isn’t always a bad thing, in fact, it can sometimes help you stay alert and focused and spur you towards motivated action. But when anxiety is constant or overwhelming—when it interferes with your relationships and activities—that’s when you have crossed the line from ‘normal anxiety’ into the territory of anxiety disorders. This distinction is important to identify. The following gives a description of some presenting symptoms;
Generalized anxiety is characterized by persistent worry, racing thoughts, or anxious feelings. Here you may find yourself worrying about a number of concerns, such as health problems or finances, ruminating about the past, or fretting about the future. Symptoms include restlessness, irritability, muscle tension, difficulty concentrating, sleep problems and generally feeling on edge.
Panic is marked by symptoms such as sweating, trembling, shortness of breath or rapid heart rate, and feelings of dread. Panic attacks often happen suddenly, without warning, and often cause sufferers to become fearful about when the next episode will occur. This can cause them to change or restrict their normal activities. Sometimes panic anxiety emerges because of phobias or intense fears about certain objects (spiders for instance) or situations (such as flying in airplanes).
Social anxiety affects approximately 13.7% of Irish adults at any one point in time.(That’s one in eight people). If you feel nervous spending time in social settings, and worry excessively about how you present yourself in public etc, you may be struggling with mild or moderate social anxiety.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder is characterized by persistent, intrusive thoughts (obsessions), and routines or rituals engaged in, to try to relieve the discomfort (compulsions). Some common examples include compulsive hand washing in response to a fear of germs, or repeatedly checking of doors or extreme tidiness etc.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can develop after a severe physical or emotional trauma such as an accident, a sudden death, abuse of any kind etc. Symptoms can include flashbacks, poor concentration, nightmares, and distressing thoughts that interfere with a person’s everyday routine for months or years after the traumatic experience.