Being extremely afraid, shivering, feeling oppressed and tense, wanting to hide or run away. Being afraid of many different things all at once or, rather, extremely afraid of one thing in particular, such as spiders. Finding it scary to talk with other people or peers. Perhaps too often thinking that you’re not good at anything and that you do everything wrong. These are all things you can feel if you suffer from excessive anxiety. There are many different types of anxiety.

What is anxiety?

Everyone is scared from time to time. Being afraid is often actually a good thing. It is a sign that you have to pay attention. But then it often goes away. It may also be the case that you are afraid a lot and you can’t sleep because of it. You may be too afraid to go outside anymore and this feeling of fear keeps coming back. This may be an indication that you suffer from excessive anxiety.

There are different types of anxiety:

  • Being afraid of things that others aren’t usually afraid of. You don’t sleep well because of this and you think about it all the time. 
  • Being afraid of losing others or no longer being able to be with your parents.
  • Being afraid of talking or interacting with other people.
  • Being afraid that something bad is happening to you, like you are getting sick. Or being afraid of that anxious feeling that keeps coming back and that makes you physically ill. This is called panic.
  • Being afraid of not doing something well, such as messing up on a test.
  • Being extremely afraid of one particular thing, such as spiders or flies.

What causes anxiety?

Anxiety can be caused by a wide variety of things and is partly hereditary. If one of your parents and brothers or sisters also have a tendency to become quickly afraid, you may have the same problem. It may also be the case that you did not grow up in a safe environment or that you were extremely sheltered as a child. You may also suffer from anxiety due to something you experienced earlier in life that made you extremely afraid. The feeling of anxiety caused by this kind of thing may keep coming back.

How common is anxiety?

Anxiety is something that can occur at any age. It is somewhat more common in girls than in boys. In the Netherlands, roughly two out of every 100 children suffer from anxiety.

Would you like to know more about the treatment of anxiety disorder?

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