Anxiety is your body’s natural response to stress. It refers to the feeling of fear or nervousness about what’s to come.1
Intermittent anxiety is an expected part of life. It’s normal for people to feel anxious about the first day of school, taking a test, moving to a new place, going for a job interview, starting a new job, facing problems at work, giving a speech, or before making an important decision. This type of anxiety can be unpleasant, but it is temporary, and does not interfere with your daily life.1,2
Learn more about anxiety
What are anxiety disorders?
Anxiety disorders involve more than temporary worry or fear. For a person suffering from an anxiety disorder, the feeling of anxiety does not go away and can get worse over time. It can be intense, difficult to control, is out of proportion to the actual danger and can interfere with daily activities such as schoolwork, job performance, and relationships.1,2,3
You may find that you avoid places or situations to prevent these feelings. If left untreated, the anxiety will keep getting worse.1,3
Common signs and symptoms of anxiety include3:
- Feeling nervous, restless or tense
- Having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom
- Increased/rapid heart rate
- Breathing rapidly (hyperventilation)
- Trembling (shaking)
- Feeling weak or tired
- Trouble concentrating
- Trouble sleeping
- Gastrointestinal (tummy) problems
- Having difficulty controlling worry
- Having the urge to avoid things that trigger anxiety
There are several types of anxiety disorders including generalised anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, separation anxiety disorder and phobia-related disorders.1,2 Learn more about anxiety disorders
Holland K. Everything you need to know about anxiety. 28 June 2022. Healthline. Available online at https://www.healthline.com/health/anxiety#What-is-anxiety?. [Accessed 05 October 2022].
Anxiety disorders. April 2022. National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Available online at https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/anxiety-disorders#part_2220. [Accessed 05 October 2022].
Symptoms and causes. Anxiety disorders. 04 May 2018. Mayo Clinic. Available online at https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/anxiety/symptoms-causes/syc-20350961. [Accessed 05 October 2022].
Cherney K. Effects of anxiety on the body. 21 September 2022. Available online at https://www.healthline.com/health/anxiety/effects-on-body. [Accessed 05 October 2022].