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Anxiety is the number one Mental Health condition that affects those with Autism, and the one we hear about the most.

It is important to distinguish between feeling axious and having an Anxiety disorser (GAD- General Anxiety Disorder). We will all feel anxious at some point in our lives it is a natural reaction and fundumental to our survival.

Anxiety becomes an issue when it begins to effect our lives and stops us from doing things we need to or want ot do. For example going to the shops, meeting with friends or attending school/work.

Anxiety is a normal, human feeling of fear or panic. When we face stressful situations, it can set off our brain’s in-built alarm bell system, which tells us something isn’t right and that we need to deal with it. Our brain wants the difficult situation to go away, so it makes us feel more alert, stops us thinking about other things, and even pumps more blood to our legs to help us run away.

Most of us worry sometimes – about things like friendships or money – and feel anxious when we’re under stress, like at exam time. But afterwards we usually calm down and feel better.

But when you’re not in a stressful situation, and you still feel worried or panicky, that’s when anxiety can become a problem.

The symptoms of anxiety

You might start out just feeling generally anxious, but if your symptoms get worse or last longer than they should, it could be time to get some support. Symptoms include:

  • feeling nervous, on edge, or panicky all the time
  • feeling overwhelmed or full of dread
  • feeling out of control
  • having trouble sleeping
  • low appetite
  • finding it difficult to concentrate
  • feeling tired and grumpy
  • heart beating really fast or thinking you’re having a heart attack
  • having a dry mouth
  • trembling
  • feeling faint
  • stomach cramps and/or diarrhoea/needing to pee more than usual
  • sweating more than usual
  • wobbly legs
  • getting very hot

If you experience any of these symptoms above, it doesn’t mean you definitely have an anxiety problem. But if any of them are affecting your everyday life, it’s a good idea to tell someone you trust about how you’re feeling.

What to do about anxiety

Feeling constant anxiety can be a sign that something in your life isn’t right, and you may need some help figuring out what that is.

Talk to your GP
If they think you’re suffering from anxiety, whether mild or severe, they can suggest different types of treatment that might help. They can also offer regular check-ups to see how you’re doing.

There are quite a few things you can do yourself to help manage your anxiety.

You could try mindfulness and meditation - there are helpful apps such as Calm and Headspace which you might find helpful in managing your anxiety.

Talking therapy
Talking therapy can help you get to the root of what is causing your anxiety. With cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), you work with a therapist who helps you understand your thoughts and feelings, and then helps you explore ways to change how they affect you. You also learn practical techniques to help you relax and cope better in everyday life.

Medication might help you manage some of your symptoms and your doctor might suggest you try taking medication alongside talking therapy.

Visit MIND.org.uk for more information in dealing and coping with Anxiety