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Everyone feels anxious from time to time, but when anxious feelings don’t go away, happen without any particular reason, or make it hard to cope with daily life, it might a sign of an anxiety condition.

Because we all experience anxious feelings, it can be hard to know when to seek support. Women experience anxiety more than men. In fact, 1 in 3 women will experience anxiety during their lifetime. It is common to experience anxiety, but it is important to know the signs, and what you can do to help your feelings.

Signs and symptoms of anxiety can include:

  • feeling very worried or anxious most of the time,
  • finding it difficult to calm down,
  • unable to control your anxious thoughts or worries,
  • feeling tired easily,
  • trouble sleeping, or finding it difficult to concentrate.

There are different types of anxiety disorders, each of which have different symptoms and is treated differently. Some common types of anxiety include generalised anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder and panic disorder.

Situational anxiety is a form of anxiety that occurs in response to a specific situation. It can cause high levels of discomfort and distress. Not all causes of triggers of anxiety are obvious or observable in your daily life, however some of the common triggers include caffeine, alcohol, illicit drugs, lack of sleep, stress, finances, and social or work environments. Genetics, previous traumas, and menopause-related changes such as hormones, sleep problems and life stresses can also trigger anxiety. Knowing what your triggers are can help you reach out and get support to help put in place preventative or support strategies, if it is manageable.

Treatments for Anxiety

Proven treatments for anxiety disorders include medication and therapy. For mild anxiety your health professional might suggest lifestyle changes. You might also like to try online e-therapies, many of which are free, anonymous and easily accessible. For moderate to severe anxiety, psychological or medical treatments (or both) are likely to be recommended.

Some other management techniques that don’t involve medication or therapy can include mindfulness, meditation, relaxation or breathing techniques, massage, acupuncture or chiropractic care, or certain herbs. Whilst more research is needed to understand the effectiveness or side-effects of herbs, the following herbs may help with anxiety:

  • Kava – to reduce short-term anxiety symptoms.
  • Ashwagandha – for stress and anxiety.
  • Passionflower – to reduce stress, sleep problems, anxiety and depression.
  • Valerian – to help with sleep problems associated with anxiety and stress.
  • Lemon balm – to improve symptoms of anxiety and depression.
  • Chamomile – to reduce moderate to severe anxiety symptoms.

Read this review to find out more about the effectiveness of these herbs.

Read more about breathing techniques here

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