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What is anxiety?
Anxiety is a feeling of unease, such as worry or fear, which can be mild or more severe. Everyone has feelings of anxiety at some point in their life – for example, you may feel worried and anxious about sitting an exam, or having a medical test or job interview. 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 lives.

Anxiety is the main symptom of several conditions, including:
You can read about other symptoms of anxiety.

The information on this page is about a specific condition called generalised anxiety disorder (GAD). Generalised anxiety disorder is a long-term condition which causes you to feel anxious about a wide range of situations and issues, rather than one specific event. 

People with general anxiety disorder feel anxious most days and often struggle to remember the last time they felt relaxed. As soon as one anxious thought is resolved, another may appear about a different issue.

What are the symptoms of generalised anxiety disorder? 
Generalised anxiety disorder can affect you both physically and mentally. Some people have only one or two symptoms, while others have many more. The symptoms, as well as how severe they are, vary from person to person, but can include:
Read more about the symptoms of generalised anxiety disorder.

You should see your GP if anxiety is affecting your daily life or is causing you distress.

Psychological symptoms of general anxiety disorder
General anxiety disorder can cause a change in your behaviour and the way you think and feel about things, resulting in symptoms such as:
  • restlessness
  • a sense of dread
  • feeling constantly 'on edge'
  • difficulty concentrating
  • irritability
Your symptoms may cause you to withdraw from social contact (seeing your family and friends) to avoid feelings of worry and dread.

You may also find going to work difficult and stressful, and may take time off sick. These actions can make you worry even more about yourself and decrease your self-esteem.

Physical symptoms of generalised anxiety disorder
Generalised anxiety can also have a number of physical symptoms, including:
How can we help you?
Our talking therapies service offers a self-referral facility in the boroughs of Halton, Knowsley, St Helens and Wigan – you don't have to be referred by a doctor. If you, a friend or relative are experiencing high levels of anxiety and are interested in finding out about treatment, you can refer yourself.

If you live outside these areas, visit your GP for help and advice.

If you feel you are in mental health crisis, visit our help in a crisis page for advice and support.
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