What is anxiety? Chances are that a fair few of you reading this will have asked that exact question because it has been revealed as one of the top 10 most searched queries on Google in 2014.
Additionally, the charity, Anxiety UK received more than 12,000 calls to its helpline last year and it’s estimated that nearly a fifth of adults in the UK have experienced symptoms of the condition at some point.
What exactly is it however? Unfortunately, anxiety has become a normal part of the stressful and chaotic everyday lives that many of us lead. Whereas stress is something that may come and go as work, financial and relationship problems are resolved, anxiety is something that can persist regardless of what’s going on it our lives.
Anxiety can have a dramatic impact on our lives because it can make a person imagine that things are worse than they really are and prevent them from confronting their fears. Whilst some people have a very identifiable cause for their anxiety - such as a traumatic incident, moving house, getting a divorce or coping with an illness, for others there is no obvious cause and this alone can cause them significant distress.
The most common behavioural symptom of anxiety is avoidance. Say for example we are going through a difficult time with our partner, we may work longer hours, suddenly take up a hobby or spend more time with our friends to avoid going home and dealing with the problem. This coping technique that many of us adopt actually makes our anxiety worse because the more we try to avoid it, the more it psychologically reinforces the message that there is danger.
If you are worried that you’re experiencing anxiety and would like more information about the symptoms and treatments available, please feel free to visit our Anxiety Knowledge Centre for more information.