Co-occurring Conditions: Anxiety Disorder

Feeling anxious at various points in life is normal. Taking a driving test, starting a new job or going on a date can all stir up feelings of anxiety, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with this. It is natural to feel nervous when faced with a new situation, but when feelings of anxiety become an everyday occurrence, it is time to get help.

Anxiety disorders result in people constantly suffering from feelings of nervousness and fear, and this can have a devastating impact on their lives. These feelings can get progressively worse and can interfere with an individual’s ability to live a normal life.

Types of Anxiety Disorder

Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

Generalised anxiety disorder is the name given to the condition whereby individuals suffer from chronic feelings of anxiety without any particular cause. Those with GAD will continually worry about various issues and when one issue is resolved, they will simply find something else to become anxious about. GAD can interfere with a person’s ability to perform simple tasks as they lack concentration and may be plagued by racing thoughts. Sufferers often worry excessively about something that others would not give a second thought to. People with GAD will suffer from feelings of anxiety almost every day and typically struggle to remember a time when they felt completely relaxed.

Panic Disorder

Panic disorder causes people to suffer from regular panic attacks, which can be triggered by specific events or which can occur for no apparent reason. Panic attacks cause intense feelings of fear and nervousness and the sufferer may experience physical symptoms that can include sweating, rapid heartbeat, shaking and nausea. Those with panic disorder may experience one or two attacks each month, but others with more severe panic disorder can experience these attacks several times a week. Although panic attacks can be very frightening, they are rarely dangerous. Nevertheless, they can interfere with everyday life and can cause much distress.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Obsessive compulsive disorder is classed as a mental health issue and causes individuals to suffer from compulsive activities and thoughts. Those with OCD may become obsessed with a particular thought that compels them to carry out a certain activity. The obsessive thoughts can cause feelings of unease and anxiety and the person has absolutely no control over them. OCD sufferers often carry out specific activities because they believe that by doing so it will relieve the unpleasant feelings they are experiencing as a result of the obsessive thoughts. For example, a person with OCD may wash his or her hands continuously because they are convinced that there are germs on their hands.


A phobia is often an irrational fear of something that poses absolutely no danger. Phobias cause feelings of fear and anxiety and even if there is no logic to the fear, the person affected has no control over their emotions. Those with severe phobias may try to organise their life around avoiding the object of their fears. People can have a phobia about almost anything, from heights to vomit to snakes. Some are afraid of open spaces, which can have a devastating impact on their day-to-day life as they will often be overcome by feelings of fear and anxiety every time they have to leave their house.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Post-traumatic stress disorder can affect individuals who have witnessed a traumatic event. PTSD causes a person to experience nightmares or flashbacks that can feel like reliving the experience all over again. This can lead to feelings of intense anxiety and depression. This is a disorder that commonly affects post-war soldiers.

Anxiety Explained

Anxiety is the body’s response to dangerous situations and heightens awareness of potential harm. Anxiety can be a good thing in moderation as it spurs people into action and can help them to stay focused and alert. However, when feelings of anxiety are occurring on a regular basis, or occur continuously, they can interfere with daily life and can leave people feeling very distressed.

Signs and Symptoms of Anxiety Disorder

Anxiety causes feelings of nervousness and fear and accompanies specific events. Nonetheless, when these feelings occur regularly or consistently for six months or more, it is more likely that the person is suffering from an anxiety disorder. Below are some of the signs and symptoms of an anxiety disorder:

  • A constant feeling of dread
  • Rapid breathing
  • Pins and needles
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness or light-headedness
  • Hot flushes
  • Sweating
  • High blood pressure
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Panic attacks
  • Racing thoughts
  • Fearing the worst
  • Feeling on edge
  • Feeling numb.

Effects of Anxiety Disorder

Those who suffer from an anxiety disorder may be unable to live a normal life. They might have trouble sleeping and could suffer from depression. Some people will turn to alcohol or drugs to help them cope with their anxiety, which can then lead to a dual diagnosis of anxiety disorder and addiction.

Anxiety disorder can affect relationships and can result in problems at work. It can also affect an individual’s ability to enjoy leisure activities.

Causes of Anxiety Disorder

There is no one single cause of anxiety disorder, but it is important to remember that it is not an illness that affects weak people. However, there are a number of risk factors that can raise a person’s risk of developing anxiety disorder, including:

  • A family history of anxiety disorder
  • A traumatic childhood experience
  • Everyday habits and lifestyle (working long hours, stress at home or work)
  • Poor diet (too much sugar or caffeine)
  • Physical and mental health
  • Drugs or medication being taken.

Treating Anxiety Disorder

Anxiety disorder is commonly treated with a combination of medication and psychotherapy. Here at Liberty House Clinic, we have a team of counsellors and therapists with expertise in treating patients suffering from anxiety disorder and dual diagnosis.

We offer treatments including cognitive behavioural therapy and one-to-one counselling that are designed to help those suffering from a variety of anxiety disorders.

For more information on the treatments we offer, as well as advice on whether you could benefit from a programme of care from us, contact our advisors today.

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