What is anxiety?

Anxiety is a helpful emotion because it alerts us to potential threats and dangers. Sometimes however, we can feel uneasy and hyperalert much of the time even when there are no obvious threats or dangers. It also involves strong and unpleasant physical sensations such as our heart racing, sweating or a knot in our stomach. It can vary in strength, from being quite small and subtle to being so intense we find it hard to focus on anything else and we might find it hard to eat and sleep. We may or may not know what is causing us to feel this way. Anxiety can affect people in different ways, in terms of feelings, thoughts and what is happening in our bodies.

Who can experience anxiety?

Everyone experiences feelings of worry and anxiety at some point in their lives. It is common to feel this way during times of uncertainty, when big changes are happening in our life or when we are stressed. We might feel worried and anxious about sitting an exam, having a medical test or job interview, but there are things we can do to help manage some of the physical and psychological symptoms we might experience, such as spending time with loved ones, reading or listening to music. Read tips for how to manage stress and managing anxiety and panic attacks.

When can anxiety become an issue?

For some people these feelings of anxiety can become more frequent or constant which can start to impact their daily lives, such as not being able to take part in the activities they once enjoyed, or being able to go to school/work. For more information and to make an initial plan to help overcome your anxiety, there is more information and guidance at NHS Every Mind Matters.

Treatment and support

We see people of all ages and in all our services who experience anxiety. It is a common feature of many problems. If your mood is low it is also normal to feel anxious. For those people whose anxiety becomes chronic there are specific treatments we offer in all our services. Most people whose main problem is chronic anxiety are offered talking therapies in our Primary Care and Wellbeing Services.

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