Anxiety is a useful human response that helps us stay safe from dangers, however, it can become a problem when it starts to affect your everyday life.
Most people feel anxious from time to time, usually about things that are going to happen or could happen. There are many different types of anxiety and everyone experiences it in a different way.
How you might feel
- Rapid heartbeat, palpitations, chest pains
- Shortness of breath or hyperventilating
- Headaches, dizziness, tingling, numbness
- Muscle aches and pains
- Irritability and impatience
- Lack of concentration
- Excessive worry and fear
- Trouble with sleep
How you might behave
- Avoiding certain situations
- Distress in social situation
- Repetitive compulsive behaviors (constantly checking things)
General Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
General anxiety disorder is when you suffer with daily anxious thoughts. It can be difficult to control and can have symptoms of rapid heartbeat, dizziness, sweating, restlessness, irritability and uncontrollable worrying.
Panic Attack and Panic Disorder
Panic attacks are a response to fear. They can begin suddenly and develop fast. Symptoms of a panic attack can be similar to an asthma attack such as chest pain, increased heart rate, dizziness, shaking and the sense of losing control. Having a panic attack may increase anxiety around going out into public alone in case of having another one.
Panic attacks can be very scary, if you have one try to focus on your breathing. Breathe in and hold for 3 seconds and then breathe out for 3 seconds. Grounding techniques can also help you feel in control or trying to distract your mind by naming countries of the world or describing what you can see around you can help you calm down.
After a panic attack make sure you tell someone you trust about what happened and pay attention to what your body needs. You may need to rest or have a drink.
Panic disorder is when someone has frequent panic attacks with no obvious trigger. It is important to speak to your doctor if you suffer from frequent panic attacks.
Separation Anxiety Disorder (SAD)
Separation anxiety is when a young person has excessive worries about leaving a loved one or their home. This could be because they’re worried about losing them or them being harmed. Children who have separation anxiety might be reluctant to leave their home or go to school.
A phobia is an exaggerated sense of danger about a place, situation or object. If someone has a phobia, they may organise their life around it which can affect the freedom in their day-to-day life and cause a lot of distress.
You will usually only experience symptoms when you are actually around the phobia, although some people can experience symptoms by thinking about it, which is also known as anticipatory anxiety.
Commonly feared situations are crowed places, open spaces, leaving home, speaking in public, public transport and social events. Phobias can also be developed by specific items such as dogs or needles.
Symptoms may include
- Dizziness and lightheadedness
- Nausea and sweating
- Increased heart rate
- Shortness of breath
- Trembling or shaking
Support for Anxiety
If a young person is experiencing any form of Anxiety, they should talk to a professional for advice. A great way of finding local professionals who can help is by using Hub of Hope.
There are other self help strategies that can have a positive effect on symptoms such as talking to someone you trust about what is going on, looking after your physical health, learning mindfulness and practicing breathing techniques.
More self-help resources can be found on our mental health support page such as worry diaries to help you reflect and manage your frequent worries.
- Young Minds Charity dedicated to improving the mental health of children and young people
- The Mix Support for under 25s
- No Panic Charity helping those who suffer with panic attacks
- Anxiety UK Website helping those who suffer with anxiety using self help groups, email support and counselling.
Visit our Resources and Helplines page for more support – Further Resources & Helplines – Be Free YC