Understanding Anxiety

What is the difference between Anxiety and Anxiety Disorder?

Anxiety? At some point in everyone’s life they will experience the feeling of being anxious that might be from starting a new job, meeting someone for the first time or moving house etc. This feeling of fear and uneasiness is unpleasant but perfectly normal and is a natural human response to situations we are uncomfortable with. This feeling comes and goes, and does not interfere with everyday life.

However, anxiety becomes problematic when we are unable to control and manage it and it prevents us from doing things we want  avoiding social situations and living in fear. This is known as anxiety disorder that is with a person all the time. It can feel although there is not escape and often leads to panic attacks. Anxiety disorders are the most prevalent mental disorder (Steinert, 2017).

What is the ‘fight, flight or freeze’ response?

fight fright flight.png
Unknown (January 16, 2018). Retrieved from urbantacticskravmaga in Krav Maga Principles

Over thousands of years human beings have evolved in ways that help us protect ourselves against danger. When we feel under threat our bodies automatically, release certain hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. In turn this invokes a physical response. It can make us feel more alert, making our reaction time faster, our heart rate increases and sends blood to places where it is needed the most. After the threat has passed “our bodies release other hormones to help our muscles relax. This can sometimes cause us to shake” (Mind.org).

Who is affected by Anxiety Disorders?

Anxiety Disorders often starts in young adults however, at any age it can onset. On average the age of presentation is 13–20, that being said a significant number of patients present later on in life with long-term problems such as depression and substance misuse (Zakri, H., 2015).

 Treatments available?

In order to treat Anxiety Disorder it is important to identify it. Nevertheless Anxiety Disorder can be difficult to diagnose. In some cases, it can be difficult to distinguish from other mental health problems like depression (NHS, 2016).

There are a wide range of different treatments available ranging from Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), medication and online self help guides. There is no right way to treat a person with Anxiety Disorder different things work for different people.

Initially, the GP may suggest trying a self-help to see if it can help you learn to cope with your anxiety. It usually involves working from a book or computer programme on your own (NHS, 2016).

MOODJUICE – Shyness & Social Anxiety – Self-help Guide

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is one of the most effective treatments. Studies  have found that the benefits of CBT may last longer than those of medication.CBT helps them to understand how problems, thoughts, feelings and behaviour affect each other.

If the psychological treatments haven’t helped usually medication is next. The GP can prescribe a variety of different types of medication, some  is designed to be taken on a short-term whilst others are prescribed for long periods of time. (NHS, 2016).

The importance of raising awareness.

Raising awareness for mental health is vitally important and just as important as physical but, creating awareness can often be a difficult task. There are many benefits to raising awareness; helps to eliminates stigma, increases the chances of an early intervention, which in turn can result in a faster recovery.

Above are couple of different ways that people are trying to raise awareness and bring about change. I recognised that talking about it openly on TV is important but I think often this type of story telling can feel ineffective as we are constantly exposed to these approaches, we have become numb. I think that physical representations are much more affective as it allows the audience to engage their senses and in turn has more of an impact.


Anxiety and Panic Attacks. Retrieved from https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/anxiety-and-panic-attacks/#.WoKhbGacbOR

NHS (2016). Generalised anxiety disorder in adults. Retrieved from https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/generalised-anxiety-disorder

Steinert, C. (2017). Social Anxiety Disorder. Psychosomatics and Psychotherapy, Justus-Liebig-University Giessen, Giessen, Germany

Zakri, H. (2015). Social Anxiety Disorder. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1177/SAGE-JOURNALS-UPDATE-POLICY. doi: 10.1177/1755738015601449

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