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Anxiety Behaviours



  • Avoiding people or places

  • Not going out

  • Going to certain places at certain times, e.g. shopping at smaller shops, at less busy times

  • Only going with someone else

  • Escape, leave early

  • Safety Behaviours:  Go to the feared situation, but use coping behaviours to get you through, such as: holding a drink, smoking more, fiddling with clothes or handbag, avoiding eye contact with others, having an escape plan, taking medication. Safety behaviours can also help to keep your anxiety going. Whilst you depend on them to help you cope, you don't get to find out that without them, the anxiety would reduce and go away on it's own.

Whilst avoiding people or situations might help you feel better at that time, it doesn't make your anxiety any better over a longer period. If you're frightened that your anxiety will make you pass out or vomit in the supermarket aisle, you won't find out that won't actually happen, because you don't go. So the belief that it will happen remains, along with the anxiety.

Vicious Cycle of Anxiety


We all feel anxious some times. A certain amount of anxiety helps us to be more alert and focused. For example just prior to an exam, a few exam nerves have a positive effect - motivating us, helping us focus our thoughts on the job in hand, making us more alert. Too much anxiety, or constantly being anxious, is unhealthy and detrimental to our lives and relationships.

Vicious Cogs of Anxiety

By looking at the "cogs" that keep the central problem going, we can target and make positive changes in each of the cogs, which will at least, slow down, and at best, stop, the central problem, for example:


Print a blank Cogs PDF and fill in the factors that keep your anxiety going

Please have a look at for help on anxiety.

 Also, have a look at: for some brilliant downloads

Does Gender have an impact on anxiety?

Experts discuss: is it fair to say that women suffer from anxiety more than men?

When it comes to mental health, anxiety is the hot topic of the moment, and it’s easy to see why. According to the Mental Health Foundation, there were 8.2 million cases of anxiety in the UK in 2013, and that number seems to be rising every day. And while so far discussions around the subject have looked at what’s causing so many of us to feel anxious, the conversation is starting to focus on gender. As in, why do women seem to be more prone to suffering from anxiety than men?



Leading the discussion is the American psychologist Dr Leonard Sax, who recently wrote a piece for The New York Times titled ‘Why do girls tend to have more anxiety than boys?‘. In it, he discusses cases he’s worked on, as well as the reasons behind this gender imbalance… but is it definitely true?

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, the answer’s yes. On their website they state: ‘From the time a girl reaches puberty until about the age of 50, she is twice as likely to have an anxiety disorder as a man. Anxiety disorders also occur earlier in women than in men.’ And the statistics seem to tell the same story on this side of the Atlantic; on the Mental Health Foundation’s website they cite a study which found: ‘In England women are almost twice as likely to be diagnosed with anxiety disorders as men.’



But not everyone’s convinced – and it seems to be that word ‘diagnosed’ that’s the bone of contention. Jane Powell, CEO of CALM  – a charity which was set up to help prevent male suicide – responded to these statistics, saying: ‘The idea that women suffer from anxiety more than men isn’t supported by the very stark fact that, year on year, three times as many men take their lives as women.’ And she wasn’t alone in being sceptical. Nicky Lidbetter, chief executive of Anxiety UK, told us: ‘While it is often said (and indeed official statistics suggest) that women are far more likely to have anxiety and anxiety disorders, our experience here at Anxiety UK is that men are as likely as women to be affected by such difficulties.’ In fact, she believes the statistics are misleading, explaining: ‘It is probably more accurate to state that women are more comfortable discussing their difficulties and therefore are more likely to seek advice from a healthcare practitioner than men and as such, these consultations are what gets officially recorded.’

This view was backed up by Rachel Boyd, information manager Mind, who told us: ‘Men and women may also deal with mental health problems in different ways: our research showed that women may talk more openly about their feelings and be more likely to turn to friends and family for support, whereas men may find other ways to unwind like watching TV or using drugs and alcohol.’ Although research they released last autumn shows that the gender gap isn’t quite as pronounced as you might expect. While they found that men were less likely than women to go for therapy for anxiety, it was only marginally so, with 14% of men saying they’d go compared to just 19% of women.



So what can we take from all of this? Well, while it’s hard to tell conclusively whether or not women are more prone to anxiety than men, all the experts we spoke to agreed that what’s most important is making sure that everyone who needs support gets it. As Paul Farmer, chief executive of Mind, explained: ‘Although it might seem tempting to put on a brave face, it really is OK to cry. It’s time for us all to stop holding back the tears and reach out for support. Responding to symptoms early is vital, so that they don’t become more serious and complicated.’ Because when it comes to mental health we all need to be treated as individuals, and creating an environment where everyone – regardless of gender – feels safe to share their feelings and experiences is key.

Anxiety UK offers a range of support for anxiety including 1:1 talking therapy treatments (cognitive behavioural therapy – CBT, counselling, clinical hypnotherapy), acupuncture, mindfulness (via the Headspace app) along with a national information line: 08444 775 774, website and live chat support service and email support service.



Anxiety and your mood

There is a useful guide Called Anxiety: Moodjuice self help guide which has some useful tips and information on managing anxiety.


Mood assessment quiz:

The mood self-assessment quiz uses questions taken from tests often used by GPs to assess whether someone is anxious or depressed. It has been designed to recommend further reading and resources that may help you better understand how you feel.

You may find it useful to monitor the ups and downs of your mood by revisiting these questions from time to time. With each question, consider how you've been feeling over the last two weeks. You may also want to write down your scores each time, but please note that a doctor will not be able to make a diagnosis based on the changes you've recorded.

Remember that this self-assessment is not designed to replace a consultation with your GP. However, if after taking the quiz you have concerns about your mental wellbeing, it might be useful to take a printout of your results along to your GP



SilverCloud is a safe and secure online space offering personalised programmes to help people experiencing a wide range of mental and behavioural problems. Once registered, you can complete modules chosen by your own online supporter at your own pace, where and when it suits you. You’ll also have access to a variety of tools that help you with setting goals, problem solving and other practical life skills.

Who is it suitable for?

SilverCloud is suitable for people aged 16 or over. It can help with a wide range of mental and behavioural health conditions, including depression, social anxiety, health anxiety, generalised anxiety disorder, eating issues and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).

How do I access it?

If you are referred to SilverCloud, you will need to set up a username and password to get access to your secure homepage. This shows the modules chosen by your supporter for you to work through. You can personalise this page and use it to contact your supporter. You’ll also be able to keep an online journal while you work through your programme.

Will I have to pay?

At the moment, SilverCloud is only available via an NHS referral or some non-NHS organisations. You’ll need to contact your local mental health service to see if SilverCloud is available on the NHS in your area.



This is a website led by Mind and rethink. Contains lots of information about depression, PTSD, downloads available.



Works to relieve and support those living with anxiety disorders by providing information, support and understanding via an extensive range of services, including 1:1 therapy services. Support and help are provided for people who are diagnosed with, or suspect they may have, an anxiety condition. Also helps with specific phobias, such as fear of spiders, blushing, vomiting, being alone, public speaking and fear of heights.

Helpline: 0844 477 5774  Mon-Fri 09:30 am-17:30 pm



Please note that there is an app called Stress Tips available for I phones, Android and Blackberry phones.


Helps people suffering from panic attacks, phobias, obsessive compulsive disorders, other related anxiety disorders, including tranquilliser withdrawal, and provides support to sufferers and their families and carers.

Helpline: 0800 138 8889  (10am-10pm)

Crisis number: 01952 680 835 (There is a 24 hour recorded message)




Provides information and support for anyone with mental health problems (including anxiety and dementia) or learning disabilities. This website does not have a helpline phone number however


Links to other resources and websites as well as wellbeing apps for the Iphone.

  • CALM

CALM is the Campaign Against Living Miserably, for men aged 15-35.


Nationwide: 0800 58 58 58 (5pm–midnight, 365 days a year )

London:  0808 802 58 58

 Text: 07537 404717


Website that gives information about mutual support groups, also provides information on OCD, phobias, Also lists external links to other resources .


National Guidance

National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE)

NICE is an independent organisation responsible for providing national guidance on promoting good health and preventing and treating ill health.

They have recently published a clinical guideline on ‘Generalised anxiety disorder and panic disorder (with or without agoraphobia) in adults: Management in primary, secondary and community care’.
Click here to view the guideline.

To help support implementation of the guideline NICE have produced a ‘Guide to self-help resources for people with GAD’.  The guide signposts to 37 on-line resources that are free of charge and that will help people with GAD to manage their symptoms. Click here to access the guide.