Jitters over a job interview, sweaty palms during a date or a pounding heart before an important presentation are feelings we have all experienced. They are normal reactions to stressful situations. But when anxiety starts to impact on daily life, and fears and worries become overwhelming, it may be an anxiety disorder.
Sufferers are not alone – the Mental Health Foundation estimates that 4.7% of the population have anxiety problems, and one in six people will experience a neurotic disorder such as anxiety or depression in their lifetime. Fortunately, there are many things sufferers can do to get anxiety attacks in check and help regain control.
At Red Umbrella, we want to help you find the right treatment for anxiety. Our advice is friendly, independent and, most important of all, completely focused on getting you the unique care and attention that you need.
A common anxiety disorder that makes normal life difficult, GAD leaves sufferers with a general feeling of dread or unease that affects their whole life. They will experience chronic worrying, nervousness and tension, but it will be less intense than a panic attack and longer lasting. According to the NHS, GAD affects around one in every 25 people in the UK, with slightly more women than men affected. It’s more common in people aged between 35 and 55.
GAD sufferers may worry about the same things as other people, such as work or family problems and money or health worries, but their anxiety is more intense than it should be. They can’t stop the anxious thoughts that are constantly running through their head and find it impossible to relax.
A sudden, uncontrollable surge of anxiety and fear, panic attacks make it difficult to breathe and leave the heart pounding. The NHS estimates that at least one in ten people have occasional panic attacks, usually triggered by a stressful event. Without treatment, they can lead to other problems such as panic disorder, which is regular and recurring panic attacks.
According to the NHS, around two in every 100 people suffer from panic disorder. But both panic attacks and panic disorder can be cured. Getting help quickly is key to reducing symptoms and regaining control.
Whether a one-time occurrence or repeat episodes, there are many effective coping strategies to help you deal with the symptoms.
Anxiety UK says that around 10% of the UK’s population have a phobia, with common ones being a fear or spiders and confined spaces. Most of us have an irrational fear of something, but they are usually minor and don’t impact on our lives. If the fear becomes so strong that it provokes intense anxiety and interferes with normal life, it is a phobia.
Sufferers may know that their fear is irrational, but they can’t control their reaction. Fortunately, phobias can be cured through self-help strategies and therapy.
An intense fear of certain social situations, social anxiety – also known as social phobia – is one of the most common anxiety disorders. Sufferers are extremely anxious about being scrutinised, judged or embarrassed in public, so much so that they may go to great lengths to avoid being around people.
Although fairly common, the situations that trigger the symptoms of social anxiety disorder can be different. Some sufferers feel anxious in most social situations, known as generalised social anxiety disorder, but for other people it is linked to something specific such as public speaking.
There are many things that can help treat the symptoms, and understanding the problem is the starting point.