Your heart is racing, your palms are sweaty, your breathing quickens, your mind is racing, and you can’t focus.

This is what anxiety feels like.

Most people have experienced anxiety in some point in their life, it’s a normal human experience and can in fact be a potentially beneficial response in anticipation of certain dangerous situations because it can alert you of potential danger or discomfort. 

There are numerous human experiences both good and bad that cause normal anxiety, such as a first date, the first day of school, taking an exam or getting married.

So, while occasional anxiety may be normal and even beneficial, there is a point when anxiety becomes a problem.

The main difference between normal anxiety and problem anxiety is between the cause of anxiety and the intensity of it. Normal anxiety comes and goes and may even be expected based on certain events or situations.

People with anxiety disorders frequently have intense, excessive and persistent worry and fear about everyday situations. This sort of anxiety interferes with daily activities, is difficult to control and is out of proportion to the actual (or perceived) danger and can last a long time. 

Anxiety can also cause other problems like trouble sleeping, loss of appetite or an increased appetite, physical tension within the body, headaches, dizziness, digestive disturbances, high blood pressure and reduced immune function.

If you suffer from anxiety, firstly, know that you are not alone- in any one year, around 2 million Australians are dealing with anxiety- and secondly, know that help is available. 

Understanding the cause of anxiety is key in being able to treat it effectively. Anxiety can be a stand-alone diagnosis or a consequence of another health problem such as nutritional deficiencies, thyroid conditions, hormonal problems or digestive disturbances. 

Naturopaths are well placed to help people who are experiencing anxiety and yes, I may be biased (I am a naturopath after all!) but I have also suffered from anxiety and for me (and many of my clients) I didn’t find any lasting improvements until someone looked at me as a whole person, helped me understand what was happening in my body and why and then treated me accordingly.   

So, if anxiety is interfering with your life, maybe it’s time to reach out and ask for help