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From OCD to agoraphobia and PTSD, there are almost as many types of anxiety disorder as things to worry about. Here’s how to spot the signs and find the relevant support.
Many people will be familiar with the dry mouth, intrusive thoughts, and fluttering heart and stomach that are the hallmarks of anxiety.
Often a temporary, and completely natural reaction to threat, these responses can be helpful in certain situations, sharpening the mind and sending blood to where it is needed faster.
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Agoraphobia, meanwhile, tends to first strike in a person’s late teens to early 20s, although complex phobias may continue for many years.
Agoraphobia is more than just a fear of open spaces; those affected may feel anxious about being in places or situations that could be difficult to get...
Like other anxiety disorders, PTSD can severely impair a person’s ability to function in social or family life, sometimes resulting in relationship problems or job instability.
The good news is that effective treatments exist for all of these anxiety disorders, so it is important to seek he...
If someone regularly has panic attacks apparently out of the blue, without any obvious trigger, they may be diagnosed with panic disorder.
It often coexists with agoraphobia, and in some cases, the fear of having a panic attack can itself trigger an attack.
In the UK, the prevalence...
One group of anxiety disorders is characterised by repetitive thoughts or compulsions, of which obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is probably the best known.
About 1 in every 50 people suffer from OCD at some point in their lives, and unlike GAD, which is roughly twice as common in women...
The introduction of the first UK lockdown in March 2020 saw the prevalence of generalised anxiety among the general population soar to 31% according to one recent study, as a consequence of social isolation, uncertainty about the future and the perceived threat of illness or death many people fel...
Phobias involving a person’s fear or anxiety being triggered by a particular situation or object, eg dogs, flying, clowns or injections. An estimated 10 million people in the UK have phobias.
Simple phobias, such as a fear of heights or spiders, usually start during childhood, whereas comp...
If you think your anxiety, or that of a friend or family member, is becoming problematic, seek help by approaching a GP, who may be able to provide treatment and/or a referral to a therapist through the NHS. Private therapy is another option, although this can be expensive.
Symptoms may include restlessness or nervousness, becoming easily fatigued, poor concentration, irritability, muscle tension or sleep disturbance – and tend to be present most of the time.
However, anxiety is, in fact, a general umbrella term that that can describe a number of different an...
There are many other types of anxiety disorders, but a final one of note is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which stands out because it strikes after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event or serious injury.
Roughly 50% of people will experience a trauma at some point in their...
Those affected repeatedly experience unwelcome thoughts, images, urges, worries or doubts (obsessions) that can make them feel very anxious or uncomfortable.
They also tend to engage in repetitive activities (compulsions) to reduce their anxiety, such as repeatedly checking medical symptom...
A separate study, conducted in the summer of 2021, found that a fifth of participants continued to suffer from what the researchers called “Covid-19 Anxiety Syndrome” – a heightened state of worry, excessive symptom checking and avoidance of public spaces due to fears about contamination.
But whereas stress usually resolves once a concern has passed, anxiety persists and is often disproportionate to the challenge faced. If it continues for months, and starts to interfere with everyday activities, an anxiety disorder may be diagnosed.
Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, an est...
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Anxiety is a healthy response. When we detect a threat, our bodies respond with a fight-or-flight response to protect us. Our heart beats faster, and we breathe more quickly to get more oxygen to our muscles. We get a dry mouth, and our stomach turns.
Misinterpretation of these bodily sens...
We often use the words “anxiety” and “stress” interchangeably. Both are normal, adaptive responses to life’s challenges and share many symptoms ( for example, worry, stomach aches, restlessness, muscle tension, racing thoughts, headaches, sleepless nights, etc.)
But despite their similari...
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