Anxiety is a normal human emotion. Everyone experiences it from time to time. It can feel overwhelming, but you can learn to manage it with the right support.
What does anxiety feel like?
How much anxiety is normal?
When does anxiety become an anxiety disorder?
When to get help
When you feel threatened, your body responds by producing a stress response to keep you safe. This response tells you to fight the threat, flee from it or freeze. These are normal reactions, but if your body reacts this way to situations that are not life threatening, it can cause anxiety.
You might feel anxious in different situations. For example, when:
Anxiety is normal and it can even be helpful. For example, if you are worried about health symptoms, feelings of anxiety can prompt you to visit your doctor.
You might feel anxious at different times, like when you are under pressure at work. Most of the time, your emotions will calm down after the stressful situation has passed. But if you feel anxious for no reason, your anxiety doesn’t go away or your anxiety affects your quality of life, you might have an anxiety disorder.
Anxiety is different from normal day-to-day worries or nervousness. When these feelings become overwhelming and affect your daily life, you might have an anxiety disorder.
Anxiety can range from mild to severe. It’s important to understand that not all anxiety fits neatly into one category and that some people might experience a combination of different types of anxiety.
There are different types of anxiety disorders, for example:
If anxiety disrupts your daily life or you feel fearful most of the time, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor. The earlier you seek help, the sooner you can feel better.
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and you might need to fill in a detailed questionnaire.
It’s good to know there are many treatments available to manage anxiety. Your treatment options will depend on the type of anxiety you’re experiencing. Everyone is different, so it may take time to find the right treatment for you.
If you would like more general information about anxiety, visit:
Thanks to Liptember Foundation for supporting Jean Hailes to produce these pages on anxiety. Each year, the Liptember Campaign raises funds and awareness for women's mental health during the month of September.
This web page is designed to be informative and educational. It is not intended to provide specific medical advice or replace advice from your health practitioner. The information above is based on current medical knowledge, evidence and practice as at June 2022.