Situational anxiety is the sense of worry or panic in certain situations. It's less consistent than other anxiety disorders, but can still cause distress.
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Anxiety is a feeling of unease or worry which can set-in in certain circumstances. For example, you may experience anxiety before an exam or a meeting.
Anxiety can cause symptoms such as:
The symptoms of anxiety differ between people. Some people may only experience mild symptoms, while others experience more severe symptoms which can be difficult to manage.
Situational anxiety is a type of anxiety disorder which occurs during specific situations, particularly social interactions like meeting new people. Usually, the symptoms develop before or during a testing situation, such as meeting new people or using a public restroom.
Situational anxiety may overlap with other anxiety disorders, such as social anxiety, performance anxiety and generalised anxiety. This means that a person with situational anxiety may experience anxiety in social situations or when speaking to a group, akin to social anxiety.
Sometimes, the exact cause of situational anxiety is unknown though, in many cases, it can be attributed to changing events or unfamiliar situations.
People with certain phobias, such as agoraphobia or claustrophobia, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may experience anxiety when put in uncomfortable situations.
In other cases, situational anxiety can stem from previous experiences, such as critical parents, bullying or distressing life experiences. These experiences can influence how you see current and future situations.
Anxiety can cause self-doubt and negative preconceptions of a situation, which can effect how you approach future situations and harm your self-esteem. You may worry that what you do and say before and during a given situation will make you look bad. These negative perceptions can stay with you longer after they initially happen.
Situations which might trigger situational anxiety disorder include:
Sometimes, a person with situational anxiety will avoid these situations, even if it inconveniences them.
It's important to note that triggers of situational anxiety differ between people. Some people may not experience anxiety when in a crowded place, but may experience anxiety if their plans change due to an unforeseen circumstance.
Smaller worries can build up and contribute to a feeling of general anxiety which can affect a person all day. This can include worries about finance, home and family matters, health or general life events.
On the surface, anxiety seems trivial. But for sufferers, anxiety can plague their mind and lower their mood, triggering depressive thoughts and panic attacks. This vicious cycle can repeat over and over for people with situational anxiety and cause future attempts to break the cycle harder.
Moreover, anxiety can be present alongside other mental health conditions including obsessive compulsive disorder and depression.
Anxiety doesn't just affect you mentally - it can affect you physically too.
Loss of sleep (insomnia) as a result of anxiety can affect your physical health and cause muscle pain and fatigue. Problems with digestion and breathing can also develop in those with anxiety.
Increases in heart rate can raise blood pressure and put extra pressure on the heart, which can increase your risk of cardiovascular diseases. In some cases, anxiety can impact your sexual health, resulting in a number of conditions such as loss of sexual desire (low libido) and erectile dysfunction.
If you feel anxious more often than not, it's important to speak to your doctor about your condition and possible treatments.
Situational anxiety can affect you both mentally and physically. The first step to treating anxiety is to acknowledge the effect it has on you. From there, you can seek ways of managing your condition
Treating the psychological effects of social anxiety can sometimes help with the symptoms. However, some people may find that combining different treatments helps them best.
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a form of talk-therapy in which a psychiatrist talks you through your thoughts and actions, and how these thoughts and actions are influenced. Sessions of CBT may be held in a one-on-one setting with you and a therapist, or as part of a larger group, or with your parents or carers.
The aim of CBT is to identify and prevent negative thoughts and actions related to anxiety.
Psychological therapy is available on the NHS in England if you are registered with a GP. You can find your nearest service here.
Guided self-help provides CBT, supported by a therapist, using a workbook or online course. Much like a face-to-face CBT, this method focuses on identifying the negative thoughts and actions related to common psychological issues, such as anxiety and depression.
Self-help guides help you to create an action plan so that you can manage your symptoms much more effectively. They explain how anxiety develops and the symptoms to look for. You can find advice on how to keep yourself calm by using deep breathing and grounding techniques.
You can download self-help leaflets from the NHS here.
There are a number of medicines available both on prescription or from your pharmacy which can help you to manage your anxiety.
Propranolol is used to treat symptoms of anxiety such as a racing heart rate, sweating and shaking. It is only available on prescription. With our online prescription service, you can renew your online prescription of Propranolol online following a short online consultation.
RelaxHerb are traditional herbal treatments for anxiety which contain passion flower. You can buy RelaxHerb from pharmacies and health food shops, as well as online from Prescription Doctor.
You may use medicine in conjunction with therapy to treat your anxiety.
Before taking any medicine for anxiety, including herbal treatments, it's important to speak to your GP. They will be able to determine which treatments are most suitable for you based on your condition and medical history.
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