What is anxiety?
Anxiety is a feeling of worry or unease. Most people experience anxiety at some time or other in their lives. But if your anxiety feels overwhelming, you might want help with managing it.
Most of us feel anxious from time to time. It's really common. For example, you might feel anxious before taking an exam because you really want to do well.
Some people experience anxiety more often and more intensely. You might suddenly feel anxious and not understand why, or feel anxious about everyday things that didn't make you anxious in the past.
When anxiety feels overwhelming it can stop you doing things you want or need to and cause difficulties in your life.
What does anxiety feel like?
Anxiety can feel different for everyone, but here are some common things people with anxiety experience:
- a feeling of nervousness or unease
- a feeling that something is wrong or not quite right
- a feeling that something bad is going to happen
- feeling jittery, like you can't keep still
- fast-beating heart
- feeling irritated / irritable
- feeling sick
- feeling light-headed or dizzy
- feeling worried or panicked
- having trouble concentrating and/or sleeping
- heavy-breathing or hyperventilating
What causes anxiety?
We don't know what causes some people to have anxiety or panic attacks, but there are some things that might make anxiety worse:
- Experiencing trauma: such as sexual violence
- Our genes: some people are more likely to experience anxiety than others and this can run in families
- Multiple pressures: such as work and financial worries
- Drugs: drug use can influence the chemical production in your brain causing imbalances
Anxiety is a common reaction to experiencing sexual violence and there are things you can do that might help manage its impact.