Anxiety is a common condition experienced by young people that can escalate to a point where it impacts on their general well being and activities of daily living; brain development and performance at school or college. If untreated the risk of developing chronic and enduring mental health conditions increases, as well as the risks of deliberate self harm and suicide.
Anxiety is a normal response to an unusual or stressful event; it is the psychological component of the “flight or fight” response.
Anxiety is considered abnormal when:
Generalised anxiety disorder
Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) is one of a range of anxiety disorders that includes panic disorder (with and without agoraphobia), post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, social phobia, specific phobias (for example, of spiders) and acute stress disorder. Anxiety disorders can exist in isolation but more commonly occur with other anxiety and depressive disorders.
GAD is a common disorder, of which the central feature is excessive worry about a number of different events associated with heightened tension
The anxiety and worry are associated with at least three of the following six symptoms (with at least some symptoms present for more days than not, for the past 6 months):
Symptoms should be present for at least 6 months and should cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational or other important areas of functioning
NICE suggest a stepped care model for GAD (2):
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