Anxiety is worrying or a feeling of unease and although this is common in everyday life in its mild form, it is termed a disorder when it is excessive, at inappropriate times, is unable to be controlled and therefore impacts on a person’s ability to go about their everyday life. In the U.K. about 5% of people have a Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and 1% have Panic Disorder.
The 3 main manifestations of anxiety are:-
.state anxiety – the everyday emotion of anxiety
.trait anxiety – the characteristics of anxious people
.clinical anxiety – anxiety disorders
Symptoms of anxiety often develop slowly and severity differs between individuals. Symptoms can be of a psychological, cognitive, behavioral or physical nature. Some people have a few symptoms and others have many and some common ones in many of the anxiety disorders include a subjective experience of distress (from their own perception of the situation), sleep disturbances, concentration issues and everyday functioning in social and work situations.
Another symptom which may be experienced is panic attacks. According to DSM IV a panic attack is a period of intense fear or discomfort, developing abruptly and peaking within 10 minutes and requiring at least four of the following to be present:-
. Chest pain or discomfort
. Chills or hot flushes
. Derealisation (feelings of unreality) or depersonalisation (being detached from oneself) . Fear of losing control
.Feeling dizzy, unsteady, lightheaded or faint
. Feeling of choking
. Nausea or abdominal distress
. Palpitations or tachycardia
. Paresthesias (tingling)
. Sensations of shortness of breath or smothering
.Sense of impending doom
. Trembling or shaking
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