Feeling Anxious? You are not alone.
As I sit down to write this article, the government’s scientific advisor Sir Patrick Vallance has just announced that the UK could see 50,000 new Coronavirus cases a day by mid-October leading to about “200-plus deaths per day” a few short weeks after that.
Now, I’m sure there are many debates going on across homes and workplaces as to the whys and wherefores of the statement and indeed the science that sits behind such an announcement which I’m not going to get drawn into, however, I do think it is worth touching upon it in terms of
the non-direct Covid-19 effects.
It will not have escaped any of us that we are seeing higher levels of anxiety and depression since the outbreak of the pandemic and we have, of course, also covered this in previous editions of Demolition and Dismantling Magazine. So why are we talking about this again? Because the uncertainty is only increasing and with the prospect of a potential further 6 months of ‘lockdown’ type restrictions affecting us, with even tighter restrictions in some areas of the UK, the underlying nervousness is becoming more palpable.
On the 18th August, the Office for National Statistics released an article that showed twice as many adults in Britain were reporting symptoms of depression compared with this time last year.
The figures highlighted that one in five adults (19.2%) were likely to be experiencing some form of depression during the coronavirus pandemic in June 2020, compared to the same period before, where it was reported to be around one in ten (9.7%). The report went on to highlight that one in eight of those adults (12.9%) developed moderate to severe depressive symptoms.
Furthermore, the report indicates that feeling stressed or anxious were the most common ways adults experience some form of depression suffered, with 84.9% stating wellbeing was affected. And with Brexit looming and the winter fast approaching, new and additional challenges are coming every day.
Anxiety generally creeps up on us and it is not one single event but that of many worrying thoughts and feelings over a prolonged period. If we can learn to recognise these signs when we, or someone we spend time with, are experiencing them, we can take action to prevent the more permanent and harder to treat mental health disorders. Prevention is always better than the cure so in this article we take the opportunity to focus on the signs and symptoms of poor or potentially poor mental health in greater detail.
Anxiety for example, is a normal, if unpleasant, emotional response which happens when we are faced with difficult or threatening situations. These feelings trigger what is known as the ‘fight or flight’ response where the brain responds to the threat by releasing stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. It is these hormones which cause the physical symptoms of anxiety.
Everyone’s experience of anxiety is different however some of the mental symptoms may include:
- Feelings of dread, panic or ‘impending doom’
- Feeling on edge and being alert to what is going on around you
- Difficulties sleeping
- Difficulties concentrating
- Wanting to escape from the situation you are in
And, the physical symptoms could include:
- Heavy and fast breathing
- Hot flushes or blushing
- Dry mouth
- Fast heartbeat
- Dizziness and fainting
- Stomach aches and sickness
Once the difficult or threatening situation has passed, we usually return to our normal state however when the feelings become severe and long-lasting, and start to affect a person’s life, it may become a medical disorder.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms regularly it is imperative that you take some time to regroup and you will find many helpful hints and tips to help you and your teams, your friends and your family to do the same in the recently issued Mental Health First Aid Kits sent to you by the NFDC.
While of course none of us are doctors and we are not in a position to diagnose, it is often useful for us to understand that Mental Health disorders come in many forms and can appear to us very differently from one person to the next. For us to truly start to talk more freely and get a better understanding of other challenges a little knowledge here is key.
I have summarised below the most common types of anxiety disorders and how they are likely to manifest:
Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) where people experience excessive, longlasting anxiety and worries over things that do not present a threat or risk and the symptoms persisting for at least six months.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) which typically develops after a stressful, frightening, or distressing event. Someone with PTSD often relives the traumatic event through nightmares and flashbacks and may experience feelings of isolation, irritability and guilt.
They may also have problems sleeping, such as insomnia, and find concentrating difficult. These symptoms are often severe and persistent enough to have a significant impact on the person’s day-to-day life.
Where a person has a sudden and very intense episode which includes many physical symptoms. It may resemble a heart attack and it is common for the person to fear that they are dying.
Where a person has an overwhelming fear of an object, place, situation, feeling or animal. Even though people who suffer from phobias know their fear is excessive, phobias can seriously affect a person’s day to day activities.
As with the majority of mental health disorders, there a number of treatments for anxiety disorders including psychological treatments and may include things like cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) which is a talking therapy which helps change the way people think and behave; antidepressant medication which can reduce and relieve symptoms; and of course something we can do immediately, self-care! In previous articles we have summarised the ‘5 steps to wellbeing’ and ‘Action For Happiness: 10 Keys to Happier Living’.
As Stephen Buckley, Head of Information at the charity Mind, said “If you notice changes to your thoughts, feelings and behaviours that are affecting your daily life, last longer than two weeks, or keep returning – talk to someone you trust, like your GP. A GP should be able to let you know if you might have a common mental health problem, like depression or anxiety, and signpost you to support.”
Your NFDC is here to help so please do make use of the Mental Health First Aid kit sent to your office and watch this space for the Mental Health and Wellbeing Hub announced at the recent AGM.
Vector Equilibrium Ltd