Is it anxiety?

Before you start looking into self-help, you should talk things over with your GP or another health professional who is responsible for your care. It is important to ensure that whatever you are feeling is due to anxiety, not something else. If you are told it’s “just stress/anxiety”, then that is where we can help you.


If you are suffering from anxiety, you may feel as if you have terrible and frightening feelings. Your legs may feel like jelly, you may feel as if your stomach is churning, your hands may sweat and you may feel a tight band around your chest, making it difficult to breathe. You may be scared that you are having a stroke or a heart attack; while this is unlikely (this is why it is important to speak with your GP before trying to deal with anxiety alone), you may be having a panic attack.


If you have are getting these panicky feelings in certain situations, then you may be avoiding those situations. While this is a completely understandable thing to do, unfortunately it tends to make things worse in the long run, and you may begin to develop a phobia of the situation that is making you feel this way. The more you avoid the frightening situation, the stronger the phobia becomes. You will find yourself thinking constantly about the situation that you are afraid of, and you will start to restrict your life so you can avoid any possibility of encountering that situation.


You may have different feelings to those described above. For example, you might always be checking, washing your hands, ensuring that everything is tidy and “just so”, hoarding, or you may be having thoughts that you might harm someone. If this sounds like you, then it is possible that you might be dealing with obsessive-compulsive disorder.


It is important to note that the above does not cover all the possible symptoms that you might be having if you have an anxiety-related disorder. However, our fact sheets cover a much wider range of information – you can consider ordering one (or more) of these if you’re interested in reading more.


While tranquillisers and anti-depressants can help with anxiety problems in the short term, they are not necessarily a long-term fix. It is easy to become addicted to them. If you have been taking tranquillisers or anti-depressants for some time and have become addicted, this can be a frightening realisation and the temptation is to go “cold turkey” – i.e. to drop the tablets immediately and completely. However, this is not wise – the withdrawal symptoms can be unpleasant, especially alongside the re-appearance of the anxiety condition that caused you to take the tablets in the first place.


If you would like to stop taking tranquillisers or anti-depressants, we will help you through it. However you should first talk through your plans with your GP.