Anxiety is a normal emotion that we all experience. You might think of anxiety as feeling stressed, tense, worried, uneasy or scared. Most of the time these emotions are not a problem. They are normal reactions to our everyday life and can actually help us to get things done on time or take extra care when we need to. 

However, if anxiety starts to affect everyday life or prevents a person from doing the things they’d normally do, it might be the sign of a mental health problem.

A person who experiences anxiety may also experience panic attacks if these feeling become intense or overwhelming. You can find out more about panic attacks on the Mind website.

There are many different types of anxiety disorder. You can read about some of the different diagnoses on the Mind or Rethink Mental Illness websites. 

What are some of the symptoms?

Anxiety can feel different for everyone, and not everyone who experiences an anxiety disorder will have the same symptoms. These can include:

Mental symptoms

  • Feeling tense or nervous
  • Racing thoughts
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling a sense of dread or panic
  • Feeling more irritable than usual
  • Trouble with sleep

Physical symptoms

  • Sweating or hot flushes
  • Feeling light-headed or dizzy
  • Faster breathing
  • Nausea
  • Faster heartbeat

What is it like to live with anxiety and panic attacks?

Everyone’s experience will be unique to them, but people often describe life in general becoming exhausting as the worry and fear associated with different situations takes so much energy to overcome. They can find it difficult to relax, sleep and eat. They might also avoid certain things, such as social situations, work or new and unfamiliar experiences.

Where can I find out more?

Visit the Mind website to find out more about anxiety and panic attacks, including information on diagnosis, symptoms, treatment and recovery.

You can also find information about anxiety on the Rethink Mental Illness website. 

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