Anxiety is what we feel when we are worried, tense or afraid – particularly about things that are about to happen, or which we think could happen in the future. Anxiety is a natural human response when we perceive that we are under threat. It can be experienced through our thoughts, feelings and physical sensations. Most people feel anxious at times. It's particularly common to experience some anxiety while coping with stressful events or changes, especially if they could have a big impact on your life.
How can you tell when it is time to get help for anxiety?
Things to consider:
- When did the difficulties start? Have feelings of being anxious been there for more than a few months?
- Are the difficulties a “normal” response to something that’s happening in their lives, e.g. starting school, a big change in the family, or is your child/you as a young person much more anxious than you would expect?
- How strong is their/your worry? Is it becoming hard for them/you to manage?
- Is the anxiety stopping them/you as a young person from doing what they want to/should be doing?
For example is the anxiety causing difficulties in lots of areas, such as:
- Their social life (causing problems with friendships)
- Their performance at school (stopping them from doing as well as they could be)
- Their mood (are they miserable/low as a result?)
- Is the anxiety affecting you from doing what you want to/should be doing? e.g. going out/to work.
If you are answering yes to many of these questions, and you have tried self-help advice (e.g. websites, books) then the next step is to speak to school or GP who will be able to advice you on how to access further help.