A weekly column by Dr Miles Langdon of South Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group, addressing topical health issues
This week is Mental Health Awareness Week, a campaign created by The Mental Health foundation in which they help raise awareness of mental health and wellbeing issues. One in six of us in the UK struggle with mental health issues at any one time, and each year one in four of us will experience a mental health problem such as anxiety or depression.
What’s more, 1 in 100 of us will have a severe mental health problem, and personal financial stresses resulting from the current economic climate, which has become a major cause of anxiety and depression.
This year’s focus is anxiety - something that can be found in many areas of our lives.
The key is finding ways to deal with this emotion without damaging your mental health.
Coping mechanisms vary considerably, from additional exercise and general healthy living routines, to advice and support groups available nationally or locally.
The wealth of research that has been dedicated to this area of health care is phenomenal and the good news is if you think your mental health is being affected negatively, there is help available.
Anxiety is an emotion that can appear in many guises including social, excessive concerns about your health some forms of obsessive compulsive disorder or OCD, separation anxiety in children as well as adults, phobias and post-traumatic stress - to name but a few.
Although a mild feeling when experiencing any of these would be considered ‘normal’, persistent or excessive feelings would be enough to voice your concern, and to actively look for help. You should consider speaking to your GP if anxiety is affecting your daily life or is causing you distress.
Symptoms of anxiety may include; increased heart rate or muscle tension, breathing too fast (hyperventilating), dizziness, difficulty in breathing, or swallowing or rapid heart rate.
Often a simple aid to reducing the feeling of anxiety could be cutting down on caffeine and alcohol and exercising regularly, (which will benefit your physical health too.)
There are also psychological treatments that may be suitable such as self-help courses and talking therapies, counselling or cognitive behavioural therapy.
You can find a list of mental health support services here: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-