Anxiety is a normal and natural response to a stressful situation, and is usually short-lived and related to feelings of worry, nervousness or apprehension. It typically is present when we are in a new, unfamiliar or challenging situation, where we might not feel prepared or if the outcome is uncertain. A first day at a new job, a first date, speaking in front of a crowd, or attending a job interview are all situations where most people would experience anxiety.
However, when worry, anxious thoughts, feelings and physical symptoms are severe, it can be disturbing and can get in the way of life. Everyone feels anxious at times, but for those experiencing anxiety, these feelings are constant and aren’t easily managed.
Typical symptoms of anxiety include:
- Psychological: excessive fear, worry, catastrophizing, or obsessive thinking
- Physical: panic attacks, hot and cold flushes, racing heart, tightening of the chest, rapid breathing, restlessness, or feeling tense, wound up and edgy
- Behavioural: avoidance of situations that make you feel anxious which can impact on study, work or social life
These are just some of the symptoms of anxiety and are not provided to form a diagnosis.
Some people may not meet the criteria for a diagnosis of anxiety however endure many of the above symptoms that can impact their day-to-day functioning, relationships, jobs, leisure, and engagement in life.
There are a number of types of anxiety related to different situations (social phobia, general anxiety, obsessive, and compulsive, etc.), and it’s common to experience a combination of these. Many people may experience depression as well.
It’s important to gain support early if anxiety is problematic. Symptoms may not resolve if left untreated, which can be debilitating for the person suffering. Anxiety is highly treatable however only a third of those suffering receive treatment – Anxiety and Depression Association of America.
Different forms of unproven treatments exist provided by practitioners without specialised mental health training. The Growth Space utilises an evidence-based approach that has been proven to be the most effective treatment for anxiety, delivered by an experienced psychologist.