Help with fear, anxiety and panic

Most people feel anxious or scared sometimes, but if it’s affecting your life there are things you can try that may help.

Support is also available if you’re finding it hard to cope with anxiety, fear or panic

Coronavirus advice

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Symptoms of anxiety

Anxiety can cause many different symptoms. It might affect how you feel physically, mentally and how you behave.

It’s not always easy to recognise when anxiety is the reason you’re feeling or acting differently.

Symptoms of a panic attack

If you experience sudden, intense anxiety and fear, it might be the symptoms of a panic attack. Other symptoms may include:

  • a racing heartbeat
  • feeling faint, dizzy or light-headed
  • feeling that you’re losing control
  • sweating, trembling or shaking
  • shortness of breath or breathing very quickly
  • a tingling in your fingers or lips
  • feeling sick (nausea)

A panic attack usually lasts 5 to 30 minutes. They can be very frightening, but they’re not dangerous and should not harm you.

Things you can try to help with anxiety, fear and panic

  • do not try to do everything at once – set small targets that you can easily achieve
  • do not focus on the things you cannot change – focus your time and energy into helping yourself feel better
  • do not avoid situations that make you anxious – try slowly building up time spent in worrying situations to gradually reduce anxiety
  • try not to tell yourself that you’re alone; most people experience anxiety or fear at some point in their life
  • try not to use alcohol, cigarettes, gambling or drugs to relieve anxiety as these can all contribute to poor mental health

Further information and support

The mental health charity Mind offer more information on:

Your Mind Plan on the Every Mind Matters website sends personalised tips and advice to your email inbox.

Where to get NHS help for anxiety, fear and panic

Referring yourself for therapy

If you need more support, you can get free psychological therapies like cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) on the NHS.

You can refer yourself directly to an NHS psychological therapies service (IAPT) without a referral from a GP.

  • you or someone you know needs immediate help
  • you have seriously harmed yourself – for example, by taking a drug overdose

A mental health emergency should be taken as seriously as a medical emergency.

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