Mental Health in the Workplace Level 3 (VTQ)

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Anxiety and Panic Episodes: Symptoms and Management

Understanding Anxiety

Anxiety is a common emotional state characterised by worry, fear, and unease. It triggers both emotional and physical symptoms, often linked to our body's fight or flight response when feeling threatened.

Common situations that can trigger anxiety include:

  • Job interviews
  • Examinations
  • Medical appointments (dentist, hospital visits)
  • Public speaking

When Anxiety Becomes a Problem

Anxiety becomes a mental health issue when:

  • Feelings of anxiety are intense and persistent over a long period.
  • It interferes significantly with daily life, affecting sleep, concentration, and confidence.

Physical Symptoms of Anxiety

Anxiety manifests physically with symptoms such as:

  • Nausea
  • Muscle tension
  • Dizziness
  • Sweating
  • Rapid heartbeat (palpitations)
  • High blood pressure
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Stomach aches

Psychological Symptoms of Anxiety

Psychological signs of anxiety include:

  • Feeling tense and on edge
  • Fearing the worst
  • Racing thoughts
  • Restlessness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Sensation of the world spinning

Understanding Panic Episodes

A panic episode is an intense exaggeration of the body's response to fear, marked by:

  • Palpitations
  • Feeling faint
  • Nausea
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Sweating and trembling
  • Hot flashes or chills

During a panic episode, the person may experience:

  • Shortness of breath or choking sensation
  • Rapid heartbeat (tachycardia)
  • Chest tightness or butterflies in the stomach

Panic episodes typically last between five and 20 minutes and can be managed through techniques like controlled breathing and removing the individual from the triggering situation.