Anxiety and panic attacks

Explains anxiety and panic attacks, including possible causes and how you can access treatment and support. Includes tips for helping yourself, and guidance for friends and family.

Your stories

Managing anxiety with creativity

Damien blogs for us about using creativity to manage his anxiety.

Damien
Posted on 04/03/2014

Sleeping with anxiety

Annie blogs about not being able to switch off and sleep, and how she copes with anxiety.

Annie
Posted on 18/04/2013

Talking about anxiety at university

Emmie blogs about her experiences of managing relationships and anxiety whilst at university.

Emma Togneri
Posted on 24/09/2014

What does anxiety feel like?

If you experience anxiety, you might find that you identify with some of the physical and psychological sensations in the table below. Anxiety can feel different for different people, so you might also experience other kinds of feelings, which aren't listed here.

Physical sensations: Psychological sensations:
  • nausea (feeling sick)  
  • tense muscles and headaches
  • pins and needles
  • feeling light headed or dizzy
  • faster breathing
  • sweating or hot flushes
  • a fast, thumping or irregular heart beat
  • raised blood pressure
  • difficulty sleeping                    
  • needing the toilet more frequently, or less frequently
  • churning in the pit of your stomach
  • experiencing panic attacks
  • feeling tense, nervous and on edge
  • having a sense of dread, or fearing the worst
  • feeling like the world is speeding up or slowing down
  • feeling like other people can see you’re anxious and are looking at you
  • feeling your mind is really busy with thoughts
  • dwelling on negative experiences, or thinking over a situation again and again (this is called rumination)
  • feeling restless and not being able to concentrate
  • feeling numb

For me, anxiety feels as if everyone in the world is waiting for me to trip up, so that they can laugh at me. It makes me feel nervous and unsure whether the next step I take is the best way forward.

What are the long-term effects of anxiety?

If you have felt anxious for a long time or you’re frequently anxious, you may experience additional effects in your mind and body, such as:

You might also have difficulty with everyday aspects your of life, such as:

  • holding down a job
  • developing or maintaining relationships
  • simply enjoying your leisure time

This inforation was published in February 2015. We will revise it in 2018.


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