Last Updated on Tuesday, 31 May 2011 13:56
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Everyone experiences anxiety, or a feeling of nervousness or fear, at some point in his or her life. This may occur in response to stressful situations such as an illness that results in a consequent loss of income, or job related stress. Anxiety disorders differ from normal anxiety in that they result in incapacitating fear or worry, which is out of proportion to the given situation, and interferes with everyday life. A significant number of people in the UK suffer from chronic anxiety, which may result in disabling anxiety states.
Anxiety is a response to stressful events and is an unpleasant feeling of fear and apprehension. Short-lived anxiety states may help us improve our coping skills, by putting us on the alert and thereby helping us to avoid danger. However, one in 10 adults in the UK suffers from persistent anxiety, which may result in disabling anxiety disorders. Women are twice as likely to be affected as men are.
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is characterized by an extreme, overwhelming anxiety and worry about daily life. People with this disorder tend to expect the worst and worry incessantly about issues like family, health, money, or their job. Perceived anxiety is generally unrealistic or disproportionate to the given situation, and dominates the suffererÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s thought processes. Those affected remain in a persistent state of worry, fear and dread, with anxiety interfering with daily life and affecting interpersonal relationships. People with GAD may suffer from associated anxiety states such as obsessive-compulsive disorders, panic disorders and phobias.
If you suffer from excessive anxiety, you should seek support and treatment at the earliest. Anxiety disorders can be effectively managed and with help, most people can lead productive, fulfilling lives.
Common anxiety causes
Although the exact cause of an anxiety disorder is difficult to determine, a variety of possible factors can put you at risk.These include, heredity, biochemical factors, personality type and life experiences. More on causes and risk factors.
Main anxiety symptoms
Symptoms described by people with this condition may be described as either psychological or physical. Sufferers are easily startled, find it difficult to relax, have trouble concentrating and often complain of poor sleep.
Accompanying physical symptoms may include tiredness, headaches, trembling, sweating, nausea, light-headedness, breathlessness, and hot flushes. More on symptoms.
Most common anxiety treatments
Treatment includes management of the condition with drugs, or psychotherapy, or both. More on treatments
Self-care and prevention of anxiety
There are many positive steps that you can take yourself, to help yourself cope better with the problem. More on self-help