A little anxiety can help to warn us about danger. However, for some anxiety is a disabling disorder. Anxiety problems are not uncommon in people with bipolar disorder.
When a person is anxious they may experience:
- Increased heart rate
- Shortness of breath
- Sweating, shaking or trembling
- Feeling dizzy light heated or distant
- Concentration difficulties
- Excessive worry about things
- Aches and pains or indigestion, pins and needles, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
- Feelings of dread or fear of losing control
Anxiety disorders can have a very disruptive effect on a person’s life, they include:
- Panic with or without agoraphobia: Panic involves short intense periods of anxiety and can be linked to being in certain situations (e.g. in crowds or away from home).
- Obsessive compulsive disorder: Obsessions are intrusive thoughts, images or impulses that are hard to ignore (thoughts about the dangers of dirt). Compulsions are the actions related to the obsessions. These actions are repeated to bring relief (e.g. washing hands repeatedly).
- Phobias: This involves excessive, irrational anxiety about something specific (e.g. snakes or spiders). Social phobia involves fear of social situations where you need to perform and others may judge you.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder: This can sometimes occur when a person has experienced a traumatic event. They have flashbacks or nightmares about the event and avoid any reminders of it.
- Generalized anxiety disorder: GAD involves excessive worry together with other anxiety symptoms, sleep disturbances, feeling tired or on edge and persists for over 6 months.
Finding ways to manage and treat anxiety can reduce the distress and disruption connected to anxiety disorders. Below you will find a few links to organizations that support people with anxiety problems and titles of books on anxiety management.