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Anxiety is something we feel when we are worried, tense or afraid - particularly about things that are to happen, or which we think could happen in the future. Anxiety is a normal body response, and most people feel anxious at times. It's particularly common to experience anxiety while coping with stressful events or changes, especially if they would have a big impact on your life. 

However, anxiety can become a mental health problem if it impacts your ability to live. Some people find it hard to control their worries. Their feelings of anxiety are more constant and can affect their daily lives. 

Signs and symptoms of Anxiety

  • Feeling tense and unable to relax

  • A sense of dread and feeling constantly 'on edge'

  • Irritability and difficulties concentrating

  • Social withdrawal

  • Seeking lots of reassurance from others

  • Dizziness and tiredness

  • Strong, fast or irregular heartbeat

  • Trembling or shaking

  • Excessive sweating or shortness of breath

  • Lack of energy, muscle aches and pains

  • Dry mouth, feeling sick and headaches

  • Panic attacks

Treatments available for Anxiety

  • Self-help techniques such as mindfulness, regular exercise, eating healthy foods, relaxing, reading, writing, meditation, avoiding caffeine, avoiding alcohol and drugs.

  • Cognitive behavioural therapy, better known as CBT is one of the most effective treatments for anxiety disorders and helps people question their negative or anxious thoughts and do things they would usually avoid because they make them feel anxious. 

  • Antidepressants or other medication can treat symptoms of anxiety such as sertraline or citalopram. Depending on the symptoms, the person may need medicines to treat their physical symptoms, as well as their psychological symptoms. 

  • Applied relaxation focuses on relaxing muscles in a particular way during situations that usually cause anxiety. 

Aiding another with Anxiety

  • Provide the person with an opportunity to talk. If the person does not initiate a conversation with you, you should say something to them.

  • Choose an appropriate time where you will both feel comfortable to engage in a conversation without any distractions.

  • If the person is experiencing symptoms of a panic attack, suggest to change location where they will feel more comfortable. 

  • Encourage them to breath slowly, in through their nose and out through their mouth. Encourage them to try the 'Box Breathing Technique' click here for more information. 

  • Provide reassurance and be caring in your approach. Listen to them carefully, remain calm and provide reassurance that they will feel better soon. 

  • Accept what they are saying without judging them and show your understanding of the situation.

  • If they feel comfortable, you can help them access information and resources.

  • Assist and signpost to professional support such as their GP, if this is appropriate.


In any given week in England, 6 in 100 people will be diagnosed with generalised anxiety disorder.

Less than 50% of people with generalised anxiety disorder access treatment.

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