Everyone experiences feelings of anxiety at some point in their life and most people recognise the worry and unease of new or stressful situations such as sitting an exam, moving house or having a medical test to name a few.
Anxiety is a commonly felt emotion and in its mild form is not usually a problem and can even be helpful in some situations when we need to perform well.
However, when anxiety is prolonged or more severe, it can affect your daily life, making it difficult to perform everyday tasks.
Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
Some people experience a continuous state of high anxiety, sometimes described as ‘free-floating’ anxiety, and constant worry, usually about a present negative situation or anticipation of a future event – ‘What if I lose my job?’, ‘What if I fall ill – how will my children cope?’, ‘What if I can’t pay my bills next month?’.
Examples include: not sleeping the night before because of worrying about being late for a dental appointment; avoiding inviting people around to your house because of worrying about the clean up afterwards; thinking that because your partner is late from work that ‘they must have had an accident’, rather than ‘they have been delayed in traffic’ or ‘they’ve stopped to talk with a colleague’.
GAD is particularly difficult to live with, as the worry and anxiety are not tied to a specific situation or event. It can cause problems with sleep and the ability to maintain a job, as well as impact close relationships.
Are you affected by GAD?
During the past 6 months:
- Do you feel that you have been very anxious and worried most days about a number of events or activities, such as those relating to family, work, money or health?
- Do you find it difficult to control your worries?
- Are your anxiety and worry connected with three or more of the following symptoms most days over the past six months?
- Feeling restless or on edge
- Being easily tired /fatigued
- Having difficulties concentrating or your mind goes blank
- Feeling tension in your muscles because of feeling on edge
- Difficulties falling or staying asleep
- Anxiety and worry are having a negative effect on your family relationships, work and social life
If you can answer YES to most of the questions, and your symptoms are not related to a general health problem or use of alcohol or drugs, then it is likely that you are affected by GAD.
A well supported treatment for GAD is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
CBT helps people to identify problematic beliefs (‘I can’t stop worrying’, ‘It’s taken over my life’, ‘Worrying helps me to get things done’) and ways of thinking (‘I’ve got to get things absolutely right’, ‘I can’t take any risks’) and helps to replace them with more realistic views.
CBT also teaches people new problem solving skills and coping strategies to reduce the impact that constant worrying has on their lives.
Self-help and finding out more…
Regular exercise, particularly aerobic exercise, will help you to combat stress and release tension. It also encourages your brain to release the chemical serotonin, which can improve your mood.
Improving your diet and reducing your intake of caffeine can also have a positive impact on your anxiety.
People have told us that reading about anxiety has helped them to understand and cope with their condition, and to learn ways to overcome anxiety. Download our self-help guide to anxiety for more information.
The following short video from NHS Choices ends by encouraging anxiety sufferers to seek help as it can be treated effectively with talking therapies.
Accessing Talking Therapies in Thurrock
If you feel that anxiety is having a negative impact on your quality of life, please call us for an assessment appointment or talk to your GP about a referral to our service.
We operate from GP Practices and other community locations across Thurrock, so we’re often able to provide support near to where you live.
Find a support group, develop an interest, get active, reconnect…
Look at our useful contacts to find a small directory of other local organisations and resources that can provide support to people affected by common mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.