What are the symptoms?
Anxiety is the main symptom of a number of conditions, including:
- Panic disorder
- Phobias, such as agoraphobia [link to agoraphobia page] or claustrophobia
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Social Anxiety disorder
- Generalised Anxiety disorder
Other symptoms of Anxiety disorders can include:
- Feeling restless or worried
- Having trouble concentrating or sleeping
- Experiencing dizziness or heart palpitations
Cause and treatment
Anxiety can be triggered by a huge range of things, depending on the condition and the person. For some, such as those with generalised Anxiety disorder, Anxiety may be a daily occurrence linked to a number of situations and events as opposed to just one trigger. However, in other cases, Anxiety may be triggered by a specific event – for example, someone with agoraphobia may become anxious when leaving the house.
The causes of anxiety can be complex and varied. These may include:
- Overactivity in areas of the brain involved in emotions and behaviour
- An imbalance of chemicals like serotonin and noradrenaline, which are involved in mood regulation
- Genetics – you are estimated to be five times more likely to develop generalised Anxiety disorder if you have a close relative with the condition
- An experience of stressful or traumatic experiences
- Having a serious or painful long-term health condition
- A history of drug or alcohol misuse
However, many people can develop some anxiety disorders for no apparent reason.
There are a number of treatment options that can be pursued for the treatment of Anxiety. These will depend on the cause and severity of anxiety. For example, for anxiety related to drug or alcohol misuse, those problems are usually addressed first to determine whether the anxiety will be resolved on its own.
The following treatment options may also be considered:
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
- Guided self-help
- Prescription medications (e.g., selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin and noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), pregabalin, or benzodiazepines)
- Combined therapy