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Anxiety is often described as a feeling of worry, fear, and unease. It can give emotional and physical symptoms and it is related to our fight or flight response, our body's reaction to feeling threatened. There are many situations in life when we all feel anxious, job interviews, sitting in examinations, going to the dentist or hospital, or having to speak in public.

Anxiety becomes a mental health problem when the person's feelings of anxiety become very strong or last for a long period of time so that it becomes overwhelming. When anxiety is becoming a problem, the person may have trouble sleeping, they may find it difficult to concentrate, they may feel depressed, lack confidence, and worry all the time. Some of the physical signs and symptoms of anxiety include nausea, muscle tension, dizziness and sweating. Others may be a rapid irregular heartbeat, palpitations, or high blood pressure. The person may also have trouble sleeping or have a regular stomach ache. Psychological signs and symptoms of anxiety include feeling tense and fearing the worst. The person may feel that their mind is racing with thoughts. Dwelling on negative experiences and feeling restless may also be symptoms of anxiety, or they may find it difficult to concentrate on daily tasks or have the sensation that the world is spinning around them.

A panic episode is an exaggeration of the body's usual response to fear. It is a rapid build-up of physical sensations, which include palpitations, feeling faint, nausea, chest pain and difficulty breathing. As well as the overwhelming feeling of anxiety, a panic episode can cause physical symptoms such as sweating, trembling, hot flashes or chills. When someone is having a panic episode, they may have a shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. In some cases, they may feel that they are choking. A panic episode may also cause rapid heartbeat, otherwise known as tachycardia. Other symptoms may include pain or tightness of the chest or the sensation of butterflies in the stomach, which is where the blood is leaving the stomach and going to larger muscles, which typically is fight or flight response. A panic episode can last between five and 20 minutes and come on very quickly. Coaching breathing and removing the person from the cause or trigger of the attack can help.