Ask anyone if they've ever had anxiety and the chances are they will say 'yes' because being anxious is seen as an everyday thing. People get anxious about their children starting school or university, they get anxious about exams, about work or relationships, the health of a relative or friend and they even get anxious about their football team during the course of a match. These are often serious issues for people, issues that mean a great deal to them and about which they develop what they would call anxiety.
In these situations anxiety is a normal human reaction to stress and in the short term the effects can even be beneficial; an adrenalin rush can improve performance. There is no suggestion that these issues should be regarded lightly. They cause concern, distress and tension and they may generate symptoms associated with anxiety. However, the feelings associated with them are short term; they pass relatively quickly. Children adapt to school or university, work issues ease, relationships sort themselves and, in the majority of cases, health concerns are either explained or cured.
The feelings associated with anxiety are far more that just general feelings of nervousness and can be made worse because they often dissociated from what is actually going on in the sufferers life.
So what is anxiety? It is a recognised medical condition estimated to affect 10% of the population and sadly, for most sufferers, it certainly isn't a short term thing. Often it is severe or prolonged and has a detrimental effect on everyday life.
It may manifest itself in a number of forms. Anxiety disorders include phobias, panic attacks, obsessive compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder but it may be triggered by physical illness; thyroid problems for example often lead to anxiety by creating a chemical imbalance or by alcohol misuse or the withdrawal from the long term use of tranquillisers.