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What is Anxiety?

Everyone gets anxious at times in their life. It’s a healthy emotion and a normal reaction to any situation where you are under threat of any kind. Anxiety is basically a state of worry and fear about something that might go wrong for you.  Anything that you care about can go wrong, as well as right, and being a bit anxious can help you perform better. Anyone who claims they are never anxious is lying. Life is full of challenges and stressful situations.

As well as being a state of mind, anxiety also has a physical aspect (sweaty palms, dry mouth and increased heart rate)

Anxiety as a Mental Health Problem

Anxiety can become a mental health problem if it starts to take over your life.  This is when life feels threatening all or most of the time (general anxiety, insecurity) or when certain situations make you feel panicky (phobias).  Anxiety is also a big part of OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) where people feel they have to do certain rituals to keep their world safe.  At its worst, anxiety can turn into a full on “panic attack” which can take over your whole mind and body for a while

What Causes Anxiety Problems?

Anxiety usually features as a big part of all serious mental health problems simply because mental health is basically about feeling secure and confident. People who get a bad start in life are more likely to get mental health problems of one kind or another because they are unable to like themselves and feel secure at an early age. It stands to reason that children who experience abuse, trauma, rejection or neglect are going to find it harder to grow into healthy and secure adults. Being anxious as a child can then attract more problems (for example stammering, getting bullied). Of course, having a good start in life doesn’t make you immune to anxiety problems if things go wrong in your life later on.

What can help?

It is understandable that people often take drugs and alcohol to try to cope with anxiety. This only works in the short term and can just lead to more problems. The same is true for prescribed drugs. They can help to calm your feelings but they don’t “cure” anxiety. You also need to make sense of your life and to find out where your feelings come from and work on the underlying issues. Talking can really help, even though it’s hard when you feel anxious. If you need to get started why not call us at CALM? We are here to help and we won’t judge you.

You can also find more information on anxiety at the below organisations:

Amended and accredited by Martin Seager CPsychol AFBPsS 23rd April 2013

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