Recognising anxiety

Lots of us have felt anxious in stressful situations: losing a job; being in a difficult relationship; confronting a difficult colleague. That's a normal reaction, and it usually passes.

Having an anxiety problem, however, is when we inflate or perceive a ‘threat' that isn’t there (or has now passed) and the worry is all-consuming.

Physical symptoms of anxiety include

  • dizziness
  • tiredness
  • fast or irregular heartbeat
  • muscle aches and tension
  • trembling or shaking
  • dry mouth
  • excessive sweating
  • shortness of breath
  • stomach ache
  • feeling sick
  • headache
  • difficulty falling or staying asleep (insomnia)
  • restlessness

Mental symptoms of anxiety include

  • feelings of dread
  • difficulty concentrating
  • irritability

Types of anxiety

  • Generalised anxiety (GA) – this means having lots of worries about lots of things.
  • Social anxiety - having a fear about looking stupid or foolish in a social situation.
  • Panic - a sudden episode of intense fear that triggers reactions including trembling, rapid breathing and sweating
  • Phobias - a phobia is anxiety triggered by a fear of something specific
  • Post-traumatic stress - reliving a distressing event, experiencing the same anxiety as during the original event
  • Obsessive-compulsive anxiety - anxiety triggered by certain incidents, leading to repetitive behaviours to relieve the anxiety
  • Health anxiety - anxiety symptoms related to fears regarding physical illness

What you can do to manage anxiety

Deep breaths 

Try to slow your breathing down. Breathe through your nose rather than your mouth with your hand placed on your stomach.


Exercising has many benefits. It releases chemicals in the body that are anxiety reducing, acts as a distraction from worries, increases social interaction and improves breathing. These can all have profound effects on your physical and emotional wellbeing.

Limit caffeine and alcohol

These substances can increase the severity of symptoms and panic attacks.

Related treatments and procedures

Get in touch

Fill in an enquiry form below or call us

Thank you

A member of the team will respond to you soon.

To continue to receive communications from Nuffield Health about our exclusive offers, products and services, then please tell us how you'd like to be contacted by ticking the relevant boxes below:

On occasion Nuffield Health may contact you with pertinent service information in regards to services we provide. Note that you can either amend or withdraw your consent at any time.

For information about where your personal data may be processed, how it may be processed and for details of our Data Protection Officer, please see our Privacy Policy.

Woman looking in mirror

Could your negative body image be Body Dysmorphic Disorder?

Feeling anxious or confused about what you see when you look in the mirror? There’s a chance you could be suffering from Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD). Whilst at times it can feel overwhelming, the good news is there is treatment available that can really help.

Read full article

How Marc fought his way back from depression

At age 19, Marc Rodwell was morbidly obese and suffering from a raft of mental health issues. His health was so poor he was warned he might not live to see his 25th birthday. But with grim determination and the unfaltering support of his father, Marc clawed his way back from the brink.

Read full article