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What is anxiety?

Anxiety makes you feel worried, nervous or fearful in a way that’s hard to control. It’s one of the most common mental health issues in the country. In fact, studies suggest that around 6% of people suffer from some form of anxiety disorder.

The causes and symptoms of anxiety are different for everyone. Some people experience mild anxiety that they can control with a careful treatment plan, while others have severe symptoms that are more difficult to manage.

Our experienced online doctors understand how difficult living with anxiety can be. They’ll listen to your symptoms and help you get the most effective treatment as quickly as possible.

Who is affected by anxiety?

Anyone can be affected by anxiety. In fact, it can occur for different reasons throughout your life. For example:

  • Students may worry about university exams, finding a job and social pressures.
  • Under 35s may feel pressure to achieve all the things society regards as ‘normal’, such as progressing their career, starting a family and owning a home.
  • Middle-aged people may be anxious about their children leaving home or the prospect of missing the chance to achieve any outstanding career or personal goals. The symptoms of the menopause can also cause anxiety issues for some women.
  • Older people may feel anxious the prospect of retirement and the loss of their day-to-day routine.
  • Some people just feel anxious for no obvious reason. This can sometimes be the most difficult type of anxiety to recognise.

No matter which category you fall into, it’s important to get the confidential help you need and not suffer in silence.

What are the symptoms of anxiety?

Anxiety has a wide range of psychological and physical symptoms. You don’t need to have all of them to get diagnosed; some people only experience one or two.

Anxiety can affect your life in lots of ways, from feeling constantly worried to insomnia, chest pain and a loss of appetite. Left untreated, these issues can have a significant impact on your quality of life and long-term health.

Find a full list of anxiety symptoms here.

How is anxiety diagnosed?

During your online consultation, our doctors will ask you questions about how you’re feeling and how long you’ve been experiencing symptoms.

Everything you tell them is completely confidential and it’s important that you answer every question honestly, so they can make sure you get the right treatment.

Using the information you provide, our doctors will be able to work out whether you have an anxiety disorder and recommend the most appropriate treatment.

Find out more about how our doctors can diagnose your anxiety here.

What causes anxiety?

One of the most important steps is to identify the causes of your anxiety. Once again, everyone’s experience is different. Some people have lots of little causes, while others may have one big reason behind their anxiety.

Potential causes include:

  • Traumatic life events
  • Your job
  • Your relationships
  • Money issues
  • Biological factors

It’s even possible to be anxious about the possibility of an anxiety attack.

Read more about potential anxiety causes.

How is anxiety treated?

Our doctors will consider a number of factors to determine the best treatment for you, including your medical history and the severity of your symptoms.

The most common forms of anxiety treatment are:

  • Talking therapy, such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
  • Medication
  • A combination of both

Anxiety often occurs alongside depression. If you’re experiencing symptoms of both, our doctors will be able to tailor your treatment plan accordingly.

To find out more about anxiety treatment options, click here.

What we can’t prescribe

Our doctors will always have your best interest in mind and recommend the treatment that they think is the most suitable.

Please note that they can’t prescribe diazepam.

Anxiety in pregnancy

It’s natural to experience a little anxiety during pregnancy, particularly if you’re a first-time mum. However, if your symptoms are getting out of control, it’s important to see a doctor.

They’ll be able to help you through the situation and suggest appropriate treatment that will look after the health of you and your growing baby.

Find out more advice on dealing with anxiety in pregnancy .

Learn to meditate and live mindfully to improve your Anxiety

“I recommend mindfulness in a range of situations, both proactively for maintaining well being and good mental health, and reactively for tackling problems.”

Dr. Katie Amelia, GP specialist in mental health & well being.

Get the Headspace app for free today.

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