Anxiety or feeling stressed out often happens before depression. It is defined by feelings of fear, unrest, agitation and insecurity. As anxiety increases so does the chance of depression. This is circular – as clinical depression increases the feelings of anxiety, which in turn shows itself more in a worrying, ruminative, obsessive state of mind.
Anxiety is the most common emotion we experience and the most common form of disorder in childhood and in adult years. At some stage in life everyone will feel anxious most commonly when faced with difficult or new situations. Everyone can relate to symptoms of anxiety or fear and experience symptoms such as breathing becoming shallow, sweating, heart beating faster, butterflies in their stomach and dry mouth.
All children and teenagers experience anxiety as part of their normal development and there are appropriate fears to feel at different developmental stages – e.g. a fear of the dark at three years old. Like depression, anxiety becomes a problem when it goes on for a long time and prevents the young person from enjoying their life. This is when anxiety can lapse into depression. About 25% 8 year olds and 21.7% 17 year olds report with anxiety. It is more common in girls than boys.
Anxiety UK Online help
Lucy Willetts and Polly Waite (2014) Can I Tell you about Anxiety?: A guide for friends, family and professionals. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers
Carol Fitzpatrick (2015) A Short Introduction to Helping Young People Manage Anxiety. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers
Obsessions describe intrusive thoughts or feelings that enter our minds which are disturbing or upsetting; compulsions are the behaviours we carry out in order to manage those thoughts or feelings. For example, a young person may be constantly worried that their house will burn down if they don’t turn off all switches before leaving the house. They may respond to these thoughts by repeatedly checking switches, perhaps returning home several times to do so. Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) can take many forms – it is not just about cleaning and checking.
- Support for people struggling with panic attacks, OCD, phobias, and other related anxiety disorders.
- Also provides support for carers of sufferers.
- Helpline: 0844 967 4848 (Daily 10:00–22:00). Charges apply.
- Youth Helpline for 13-20 year olds: 0330 606 1174 (Mon-Fri 15:00–18:00). Charges apply.
- Having a panic attack? Crisis Number with recording of a breathing technique: 01952 680835 (24 hours)
Amita Jassi and Sarah Hull (2013) Can I Tell you about OCD?: A guide for friends, family and professionals.London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers