General Anxiety Disorder affects around 5% of the UK’s population, and can have severe implications for your general functioning.
There are a variety of factors that indicate when your anxiety may have become a disorder. These are some to look out for:
- Feeling anxious most days and as soon as one anxious thought is resolved, another may appear about a different issue.
- An inability to function well and relax, which is manifested in difficulty concentrating and irritability.
- A disrupted social life.
- Frequent illness and absence from work
Anxiety occurs as the result of a normal biological reaction in your body, called the fight-or-flight response. This is the internal process the body goes through when preparing a response to a difficult or stressful situation, and is how your body makes the decision to confront the situation, or run away from it. During the process, large amounts of adrenaline and cortisol are released into the bloodstream, resulting in the perception that everything in the surrounding environment is a threat. An anxiety disorder occurs when you have an overactive fight-or-flight response, resulting in the perception of non-threats to be threatening.
Physical symptoms of anxiety include:
- Shortness of breath
- Heart palpitations
- Pins and needles
- Difficulty falling or staying asleep
Anxiety disorders are often successfully treated through therapy or medication, particularly those disorders that are identified early on. However, according to statistics presented by Anxiety UK, whilst 25% of cases of General Anxiety Disorder occur in individuals aged over 50, only a third of them receive treatment.