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Anxiety is a normal response to stress, which can help an individual to deal with a situation. However, anxiety is a problem if it is experienced to such an extent that it interferes with a person's life.

Symptoms can include:

  • Psychological symptoms
  • Tension
  • Agitation
  • Feeling out of control
  • Feeling an impending sense of disaster
  • Feeling detached
  • Physical symptoms
  • Palpitations
  • Difficulties in breathing
  • Tightness of the chest
  • Butterflies
  • Sweating

Treatment is needed both for the relief of symptoms and for the underlying anxiety.

Panic attacks are a particular type of anxiety response. These may often involve severe anxiety with physical and psychological symptoms. Attacks are not predictable and may not appear to have any cause.

A phobia is a fear that is out of proportion to a situation. People with phobias will try to avoid the cause. Phobias can be fears shared by many other humans such as heights, dangerous objects etc. Some may develop as a result of a particular situation such as a car crash, mugging etc.

Social phobia, which is common in depression, is a fear of interacting with people in the normal ways, talking, sharing meals, public speaking etc.