Anxiety is characterised as a general feeling of unease, such as worry or fear, that can range from mild to severe. While everyone will experience anxiety at some points in their lives, such as before a job interview or exam, however, those with anxiety disorders have these feelings more constantly which can often affect their daily lives.

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

Medical Cannabis and Anxiety

Ongoing research has revealed that cannabinoids – particularly CBD and THC – found in cannabis can be helpful in managing symptoms and reducing generalised feelings of Anxiety. Cannabinoids activate Endocannabinoid System (ECS) receptors in our bodies which are now known to play an important role in mood regulation.

Our specialist physicians are experienced in assessing individual cases and helping to determine whether medical cannabis could be an effective option.

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