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Worry and stress is a natural reaction to have when under the right circumstances but if you’re feeling it more often than not, you might wonder if your feelings are something more.

What is anxiety?

Anxiety, in mental health terms, is a state of worry, nervousness or unease that’s not always situational and is more constant than average. It’s one of the most common mental health problems in the UK. It’s estimated that more than 1 in 10 people* are likely to experience an anxiety disorder at some stage in their life and around 13% of the population will develop anxiety surrounding a specific phobia.

Quickened Heartbeat and Shortness of Breath

A large proportion of the symptoms of anxiety are physical and a racing heartbeat and shortness of breath are included. If you feel a quickening of the heartbeat and find it difficult to catch your breath on a regular basis, regardless of physical activity, you might consider it a symptom of anxiety.

Butterflies in Your Stomach

Nervousness sometimes exhibits itself in the stomach. If you’ve ever experienced ‘butterflies’, you’ll understand that they appear as a symptom of anxiety. But if you’re experiencing them with no obvious reason to be nervous, it might be general anxiety.

Frequent Urge to go to the Toilet

A lesser known symptom of anxiety is frequent urination. Anxiety tend to put your body into ‘fight-or-flight’ mode, a bodily response that pumps your body with adrenaline in order to prepare you to run away from danger or fight it. This can lead to increased bladder stimulation and the urge to frequent the toilet more often.

Sweating

Sweating more is also a symptom of anxiety and also caused by the fight-or-flight reaction. The hormones released throughout our body increase our blood pressure, quicken our heartbeat and activate sweat glands to produce more sweat. If you’ve sweat due to an upcoming meeting, you’ll understand the link. If you’ve noticed that you’re sweating more than normal, and more constantly, you might suspect generalised anxiety.

A state of Dread

It’s perfectly natural to feel nervous or experience a sense of dread when you’re worried about something but living in a constant state of dread is not natural. If you already feel anxious when you wake up and you go about your day with the continued feeling, this might be a symptom of generalised anxiety.

What causes anxiety?

Anxiety can occur for a number of reasons. For some people, such as highly sensitive personalities, anxiety is more prevalent than in others. Anxiety commonly affects people going through a period of high stress in their life or change. Biochemical imbalances may also have a role to play in the causes of anxiety.

How is anxiety treated?

Anxiety can be treated in a variety of ways. Most commonly, anxiety is treated with a combination of beta blockers and therapy which works to reduce both the physical responses to anxiety, identify potential triggers and to teach you coping mechanisms to better react to situations that trigger you.

To find out more and to discover the right therapist for your anxiety treatment, browse our recommendations here.

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