Raising awareness of anxiety

Anxiety is a mental disorder, that affects many people in their everyday life. Although anxiety is one of the more ‘common’ mental disorders, it is often misunderstood and therefore wrongly diagnosed. Many people diagnose them self with anxiety without fully understanding the disorder. One thing that I really hope to get across to you in this blog, is the fact that just because you are apprehensive about a certain event it doesn’t necessarily mean you have anxiety. We all get nervous about taking exams, going in for surgery and talking to your crush. Just because we have a few butterflies in our stomachs, it doesn’t always mean we have a serious mental disorder. One of the key things with anxiety and other mental disorders is the fact that they are constant and do not go away. However they may be triggered by a certain event that makes the anxiety worse. Anxiety is hard to diagnose and spot, because feeling anxious every now and then is perfectly normal and healthy. If you are not sure about whether you have anxiety, then I suggest going into the doctors and talking it through. No self diagnose quiz on the internet will do, you have to see a professional.

The symptoms of anxiety are wide and differ between person to person. I wasn’t sure whether to put the symptoms up or not, as I didn’t want to scare anyone or make them worry about whether they have anxiety or not. I just want to say that even if you have a few of these symptoms it does not always indicate that you have anxiety.

  • Physical sickness (nausea)
  • Tensing muscles for no reason
  • Migraines and headaches
  • Feeling numb
  • Dizziness
  • Faster breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Hot flushes/ over sweating
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Insomnia
  • Bladder problems
  • Churning feeling in stomach
  • Panic attacks
  • Continuously nervous
  • Feeling of dread
  • Uncontrollable fear
  • Feeling isolated from reality
  • Belief that people are judging you
  • Over thinking situations
  • Analysing and repeating events in your mind
  • Lack of concentration
  • Trembling hands
  • On edge all the time
  • Tired for no reason
  • Stomach ache
  • Dry mouth

Many people ask ‘How does anxiety affect your life?’ Once again people are affected in different ways, not just short term but long term as well. Anxiety never really goes away it is always there waiting for you.  As a result there are long-term problems caused by anxiety these can include insomnia. I listed insomnia in the symptoms, but I wanted to explain it properly. Insomnia is when you have trouble sleeping, whether it’s falling asleep, staying asleep or waking up. Insomnia is a condition on its own, but can often accompany anxiety. Poor sleep can lead to other problems like fatigue, relationship problems and much more. Not only this anxiety is often accompanied with depression. It’s a myth that you can not have both anxiety and depression. The two actually go hand in hand, if you feel continuously nervous you may shut yourself off from the world…leading to depression. Anxiety itself can cause people to turn to drugs and alcohol in order to try to find ‘relief’ from the condition. So a misuse of alcohol and drugs could be a sign of anxiety. Anxiety is also known to affect people’s sex drive, causing relationship problems. It can also lower our immune system, which means we are more susceptible to disease and illness.

Although we can never be entirely sure what causes anxiety, we are not completely clueless. There have been many studies into anxiety and the cause of it. One cause of anxiety is previous bad experiences. For example perhaps you have been bullied in your life or grew up with abusive parents, this may be a trigger for anxiety and stress. Our general life problems and styles could be a cause for anxiety. For example if you are a student you may have long hours of revision, stress and feel overwhelmed with the amount of deadlines you have to meet. This could in fact cause you to have anxiety, if this is the case you will need to speak with your teachers/professors. Things like drugs and alcohol also play a role in triggering anxiety. This sounds really serious and life threatening, but an imbalance of the chemicals in your brain could be causing anxiety. This leads to certain areas of the brain being more active than others, leading to a feeling of anxiety. Other medical conditions can trigger anxiety, for example those suffering with long-term physical health problems might get anxiety.  Of course genetics does have a role in anxiety. They say that if a relative of yours has anxiety then you are more likely to have it. However just because none of your family has the condition it doesn’t mean that you don’t to.

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