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5. May, 2013|Blog, Uncategorized|Comments Off on Anxiety: The Most Common Psychological Problem in the UK – May 2013

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is the most common psychological problem in the UK and a normal reaction to a feeling that is unacceptable, frightening or overwhelming.  It is almost impossible to live without anxiety but for large numbers of people it can take over their lives and help is needed when you feel you are falling apart and everything is out of control.

Anxiety can be a puzzling emotion which can be hard to put your finger on.  People experience anxiety when they anticipate danger to themselves physically or socially but each individual person varies in their vulnerability to anxiety as a result of different events, situations or relationships.  For example, you may feel anxious about meeting new people, or as a result of a recent bereavement or trauma.  We need anxiety to help us to respond to life threatening situations quickly and to help us perform better in exams, interviews etc but it’s all about keeping it in check as extreme anxiety is not good and can interfere with your performance.

For people whose anxiety is intense and ever-present, life is like one big terrifying hurricane, from which they constantly feel the need to withdraw to protect themselves from emotional annihilation.  The effect of anxiety cannot be underestimated.

  • Physically, you can have palpitations, sweating, trembling, tremor, dry mouth, hard to breathe, choking, chest tightness, stomach pain/sick, hot flushes, tingling in fingers.
  • Psychologically, you can feel dizzy/light headed, fear of losing control, fear of dying as a result of chest pain etc, feel out of it, loss of appetite, sleep badly, tired, feel on edge, restless, inability to concentrate, depressed.

Can Anxiety Be Treated?

If anxiety is affecting your everyday life, the first step is to visit your GP.  Consider the following options:

  • Talk to relatives and friends or join a self-help group locally or on the internet;
  • Look after your physical and mental well being by relaxing, taking regular exercise, eating healthily, not drinking too much alcohol, and getting a good night’s sleep;
  • Complementary therapies such as homeopathy or herbal medicines;
  • Drugs including antidepressants and tranquillisers can be prescribed;
  • Counselling to explore your feelings in a non-judgemental safe environment.


The views expressed here are the author’s and are intended for general guidance only.