Anxiety is a normal feeling that all people experience when they’re facing a threat or danger, or when they’re stressed.
However, some of us will go on feeling anxious and upset even when the stressful event has passed. Sometimes the feelings seem to happen on their own, without any specific event to trigger them. They may be so severe and long lasting that they interfere with our daily lives and stop us doing what we want to do. These feelings, and the physical symptoms that often accompany them, are caused by a collection of illnesses called anxiety disorders.
Anxiety disorders are very common. These disorders change the way we feel, think and behave. If they’re not treated, they can cause us considerable distress, and affect our relationships with the people we live and work with.
Many people experience periods of anxiety in their lives when they are under stress, or when going through major changes such as moving home or jobs. For most people they may worry a lot about what may or may not happen, they may feel tense, irritable and reactive, notice their heart beating more than before, and they may feel tired, have difficulty relaxing and/or sleeping, for periods of time, as they struggle to deal with challenging life experiences.
Many people find that these symptoms of anxiety are transient and disappear after a few days or weeks as worries subside but for some people these distressing symptoms of anxiety do not disappear.
They may continue to feel anxious and worried, sometimes without any specific event triggering the feelings. If these worries, fear about the future, and physical symptoms such as fast heart rate and sweating have become severe enough to interfere with your ability to cope with your daily life you may be developing an anxiety disorder.