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What causes anxiety?

Anxiety is the feeling of fear that we get when faced with threatening or difficult situations. It is a normal reaction to stress, as it makes us more alert and gives us energy to deal with problems. If, however, the anxiety is too strong or is present all the time, then it can be a real problem. Anxiety disorders affect about 1 in 10 people.

What causes panic?

Panic is a sudden stream of intense anxiety that can come out of nowhere.

What is a phobia?

A phobia is a fear of a situation, object, or living thing. Although phobias are not dangerous, some people find them troublesome, since the fear can interfere with their lives.

What causes anxiety, panic and phobias?

• Genes – biological predisposition
• Life experience – bad experiences in the past, big changes in life, losses
• Drugs and alcohol
• Circumstances

What does it feel like to have anxiety, panic or a phobia?


Your Mind:
• Worrying all the time
• Feeling tired
• Being irritable
• Sleeping badly
• Struggling to concentrate.

Your Body:
• Racing heartbeat
• Sweating
• Muscle tension and pains
• Shaking
• Heavy breathing
• Dizziness
• Faintness
• Indigestion and diarrhea.


Panic is a sudden, overwhelming sense of fear and a feeling that you are losing control. You breathe quickly, feel your heart racing, sweat, and may feel that you are going to die. You may try to escape from the situation as quickly as you can.

** You may also feel depressed.

Anxiety and panic can often lead to depression, when you feel down, lose your appetite, and see the future as dreary and hopeless.


It is possible to get strong feelings of anxiety when certain situations frighten you. This is a phobia. So if you have a phobia of dogs, you feel anxious when there are dogs around, but feel okay at other times. You will usually realize that there is no real danger and may even feel silly about your phobia, but you can’t control it.

What could help?

• Use self-help books and computer programs based on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for anxiety.
• Tell someone how you feel.
• Try to keep active.
• Make sure you eat well.
• Be careful with drugs and alcohol, as they make anxiety worse.

• Antidepressants
• Tranquillizers
• Beta blockers