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Anxiety is a common, treatable condition most people can relate to.

It is normal to feel anxious when faced with something dangerous, difficult or unknown, for example when starting a job or sitting an exam. If everything goes well, the anxiety will most likely go away. This kind of anxiety can be helpful in stressful situations, because it increases alertness.

However, severe anxiety occurs when these feelings remain at a high level for a long period of time and start to impact day-to-day living. Severe anxiety can cause physical symptoms including fast heartbeat, high blood pressure, nausea, difficulty in breathing and muscle tension. Long-term anxiety can affect appetite, sleep and concentration.

Anxiety disorders such as generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) include a range of conditions that can seriously impact on a person’s ability to live their life. However, with treatment, help and support, people are able to recover and carry on with their lives.

Read the NHS self-help guides, on Anxiety, Health Anxiety and Shyness and Social Anxiety.

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