What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is defined as a feeling of worry, nervousness or unease. Usually, it is associated with uncertainty or fear that something bad or unfavorable will happen. It is natural to feel nervous when trying something new, starting a new job, on the first day of school, or flying in an airplane.
At some time or another, we all worry about the future. While feelings of fear, stress, and anxiety are normal and healthy responses, they can sometimes be intense or last for long periods of time and they can be disruptive to everyday life and impact overall health.
Did You Know?
• Anxiety is the most common mental health problem experienced by approximately 8% of children and adolescents in the U.S.
• Anxiety affects 40 million adults age 18 and older in the U.S. (18% of the population)
• Anxiety disorders are highly treatable, yet only 37% of those suffering receive treatment
• Women are twice as likely to be affected as men
The Kaiser Family Foundation reports that there has been an increase in anxiety and depression during the COVID-19 pandemic. In June 2020, the average weekly data showed that 36.5% of adults in the U.S. reported symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder, compared to June 2019, when 11.0% of adults reported symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder.
Signs and Symptoms
Symptoms of anxiety include feeling worried, overwhelmed, irritable, annoyed, agitated, restless, and a sense of doom. Other symptoms are being distracted, tired, and having difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. Physical symptoms associated with anxiety are having headaches, stomach aches, increased heart rate, feeling like your heart is pounding, muscle tension, sweating, shaking, and shortness of breath.
There are medications that are used to treat anxiety and many find counselling and therapy helpful. Often those experiencing severe anxiety access a combination of both medication and therapy. Changes to your daily routines such as adding exercise, meditation or yoga, limiting alcohol and caffeine consumption, and seeking support from friends and family are just a few strategies that have been found to lessen persistent feelings of anxiety.