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Anxiety

Two in three people experience anxiety or depression at some point in their life. It can be mild and last only a few weeks or it can be a lot more severe.

People often experience anxiety or unease when they are faced with a stressful situation, for example suffering from an illness or needing to make an important decision. During times like these, feeling anxious can be perfectly normal.

However, some people find it hard to control their worries. Their feelings of anxiety are more constant and can often affect their daily life. For one in ten people, anxiety interferes with normal life and excessive anxiety is often linked with depression.

Anxiety is abnormal when it:

  • is prolonged
  • occcurs when a stressful event has not taken place
  • gets in the way of everyday activities

Another anxiety-related disorder is OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), where a person experiences frequent intrusive and unwelcome obsessional thoughts, often followed by repetitive compulsions, impulses or urges.

Visit OCD-UK for more help and advice on OCD.


Symptoms of Anxiety

The following are often symptoms of anxiety:

  • Feeling worried or uneasy a lot of the time
  • Feeling on edge or unable to relax
  • Feeling tearful
  • Needing frequent reassurance from other people
  • Irritability or anger
  • Being unable to concentrate
  • Difficulty sleeping

They physical symptoms of anxiety can include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Pounding heartbeat
  • Chest pains
  • Feeling sick
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Frequent urination
  • loss of appetite
  • ‘butterflies’ in your tummy

Anxiety can be linked to a physical illness. Sometimes when that improves, the anxiety will improve. It can also be a symptom of another mental health problem, for example depression, personality disorder or alcohol misuse.


Treatment for Anxiety Disorders

In the first instance, it is important to speak to your GP who will be able to discuss your feelings, offer support and treatment, or refer you for specialist support.

  • Counselling – can be effective for people with anxiety or minor depression.
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) – is most effective for anxiety disorders, including Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, phobias and panic disorders.
  • Medication
  • Relaxation – there are many types relaxation exercise: controlled breathing, deep muscle relaxation, visualisation.
  • Mindfulness – is about becoming more aware of the present moment, and is proven to be effective at helping with stress and anxiety
  • Exercise – aerobic exercise will leave the heart slightly racing and releases the tension that builds up.
  • Diet – reduce your intake of caffeine as much as possible.

Patient Information Centre has produced various mental health self help guides, including one about anxiety.  There is  a checklist to help you think about your symptoms.


Local Help and Advice

Arts Therapies Art therapy is a form of psychotherapy that supports individuals who are feeling sad, lonely, anxious or struggling to cope with a major change in their circumstances such as bereavement or an illness.  They could use art, dance, music as a form of creative expression and the form fits the needs of the person.

Launchpad is an organisation run by and for people experiencing mental health problems. They are involved in the planning, delivery, monitoring and evaluation of mental health services and work to influence the decisions made around mental health services in Newcastle.

ReCoCo: The Recovery College College run various peer-led support groups, and free educational and creative courses, which are open to anyone who would find them helpful in their recovery from mental illness, substance misuse, trauma or distress.

Ways to Wellness service helps people in the West of Newcastle to manage their long-term conditions, which may include activities such as:

  • Getting involved in local groups and activities
  • Accessing specialist services and support
  • Healthy eating and getting more active
  • Getting support around benefits and welfare rights

Newcastle Libraries ‘Reading Well Books on Prescription’ scheme have a number of books available to borrow to help you manage your mental wellbeing. The titles chosen deal with issues such as anger, anxiety, fear, panic, worry, assertiveness, confidence, self-esteem, depression, eating disorders, fatigue and pain.

Newcastle Talking Helps  are a commissioned service and effective in helping people with problems such as depression, anxiety, stress, anger, fears, bereavement and relationship difficulties.

A Time 2 Talk offers counselling to support individuals who are facing the impact of life changing events that can result in: anxiety, depression, stress, loss of employment, adjusting to new way of living, loss of living independently, moving to sheltered accommodation, mobility loss, sight impairment, relying on others for care. They can support individuals, their carers, partners, family members and friends.

Tyneside and Northumberland Mind runs a Safe Space Service at Newcastle Carers Centre, Shields Road, Byker. It is an informal group that offers essential support to adults who are experiencing problems with their mental health and emotional wellbeing. The aim of the service is to provide a supportive peer group in which people can reduce isolation, build confidence, improve their wellbeing and take positive steps towards their recovery.


Other Useful Information

Please note – The content on this website is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. If you are feeling unwell, make an appointment to see your GP or contact NHS 111. In an emergency, dial 999.

Last updated: December 11, 2018

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