Anxiety can be considered a normal response to a stressful event in many cases but would be concerning if the symptoms are more prolonged or very severe, if the symptoms are overwhelming and having a negative impact on normal day to day living or if the symptoms occur in the apparent absence of a stressful trigger
The symptoms of anxiety are akin to that of panic; the heart may race (you may feel the heart beating - palpitations), you may feel fearful and apprehensive, your mouth may go dry and you may have feelings of being lightheaded and have increased sweating, clamminess and stomach upset. Concentration and mood may be affected also, particularly when the symptoms are prolonged and affecting quality of life
Anxiety is very common, affecting about 5% of people at any one time to varying degree's; the lifetime risk for anxiety is as high as 25%.
Adolescents and the elderly are two groups more commonly affected and life events and previous life experiences often have a role to play.
Personality has a role and many people can identify typical stressors like enclosed spaces or spiders
There are two broad approaches to managing anxiety:
Treatment includes the use of medications, including antidepressants that treat both the anxiety symptoms as well as the mood effects and psychological therapies including cognitive behavioural therapy as well as further education about anxiety, breathing exercises and distraction strategies