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Thread: DWD MH Factsheet #2 - Anxiety

  1. #1
    Princess Sparkles Paula's Avatar
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    Sep 2012
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    DWD MH Factsheet #2 - Anxiety

    At DWD we cannot and will never try to replace a qualified medical team. We are not medically trained. The information contained within this factsheet is based on literature from reputable sources (e.g. national and international health services, established national and international charities etc) along with experience gained from our own lives as they’ve been affected by mental health problems.

    Being anxious is a natural human response when it feels like there is a threat. It’s part of the Fight, Flight or Freeze autonomic response. This is where hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline are produced to create alertness and increase blood flow to enable the body to do whatever needs to be done when a threat appears.

    However, anxiety can become a problem when this autonomic response wrongly or inappropriately kicks in when the situation is not a threat. Anxiety then becomes hard to control and can have a marked impact on daily life and affect relationships, careers and quality of living.

    “One way of thinking about your anxiety is to imagine your stress levels as being like a bucket of water. If we keep adding stressors to the bucket (even tiny ones like the school run or commuting to work), over time it fills up until one day it overflows. This can be a good way of looking at anxiety as it explains why sometimes it can seem to come out of the blue with no significant trigger. However, what has happened is that the trigger was just a very small stressor that tipped us over the edge and allowed our bucket to overflow. What we need is a leaky bucket with lots of holes in to reduce your overall stress levels. Each one of these holes could be something positive that you do to manage your anxiety, such as yoga, exercise, reading, listening to music or spending time with friends or family.”
    Anxiety UK (

    Symptoms of anxiety can include (but is not limited to):

    - feeling irritable
    - a feeling of dread
    - agitation/restlessness
    - trouble concentrating
    - withdrawing from social contact
    - being tense and unable to relax
    - feeling other people are looking at you
    - worrying people are angry or upset with you
    - feeling you’re losing touch with reality
    - feeling disconnected from your mind, body or the world
    - avoidance
    - feeling lightheaded
    - headaches and other aches and pains
    - fast, thumping heartbeat
    - shaking/trembling
    - excessive sweating
    - nausea
    - grinding teeth
    - disturbed sleep
    - panic attacks

    It’s common to experience anxiety alongside another mental health conditions such as depression. There are also many anxiety conditions including generalised anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, phobias, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and panic attacks.

    There are treatments available to help with anxiety such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) or medication (anti depressants, beta-blockers, benzodiazepines etc). Self help techniques can be very beneficial and can include mindfulness, breathing exercises, taking care of your physical health (including eating and drinking well and getting enough sleep), yoga, reflexology, meditation or other complementary therapies. Peer to peer support can also be invaluable such as a forum like

    It’s clear that anxiety can be debilitating and recovery isn’t always possible. However, with the right treatment and support, coping mechanisms can be put into place to enable a good quality of life.


    Dealing with Depression (DWD) - Helplines etc

    Anxiety UK - Anxiety Conditions

    MIND - Anxiety and Panic Attacks
    The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.

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