Anxiety on the rise

Roisin Maguire

It is completely normal to be anxious or worried about events that will happen in the future. However, if these feelings become constant and cause significant stress, then it could be considered a serious mental illness. Women are twice as likely to have anxiety than men.

People who suffer from anxiety often feel a sense of doom and have symptoms such as dizziness, rapid heart rate, stomach problems, dizziness, trouble sleeping, lack of concentration and panic attacks.

However, there are some symptoms of anxiety that go unnoticed as some people think it is another part of their personality. These include: not wanting to leave the house or go to social events, worrying about getting sick, being restless and having other compulsive disorders. 

According to Mental Health Ireland, around one in six people in Ireland suffer from anxiety which has steadily increased in the last 20 years. So why has led to an increase in young people with anxiety?

There are five different types of anxiety: generalised anxiety disorder, obsessive compulsive disorders, panic disorder, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and social anxiety.

Generalised anxiety disorder includes excessive worrying about ordinary aspects of life such as family, friends, work, university and health. Obsessive compulsive disorders typically occur in cycles due to stress where a person gets caught in obsessive behaviour. Panic disorder includes very sudden panic attacks and experience worry in between these panic attacks. PTSD is an anxiety disorder that occurs in people who have experienced shocking events in their life. Social anxiety is when a person is hyper-aware in almost every situation. 

The counselling service, Jigsaw, has reported that 39 per cent of young people attending Jigsaw use the service for anxiety disorders. This is a 7 per cent increase in the last three years. In 2018, Jigsaw delivered counselling to 27,000 people aged between 17 and 25. Jigsaw is a registered charity founded in 2006 by Dr. Tony Bates and offers a free counselling service to young people. 

In Dublin, Jigsaw has five locations. The remaining locations are in Roscommon, Cork, Donegal, Galway, Kerry, Limerick, Meath and Offaly. Therefore this service is not accessible for young people in counties in Northern Ireland or counties where young people can’t commute to the closest locations to them. 

People who have less common mental health issues and live in rural areas, find it very difficult to access treatment that is close to them because this is mostly available in Dublin. For example, there are only three main centres for Borderline Personality Disorder in Ireland.

Dr. Gillian O’Brien, the director of Jigsaw’s clinical governance said that “high expectations of self” are key reasons in the increasing number of anxiety disorders in Ireland according to Exam stress, family breakdowns and bullying are more reasons for this increase. 

Roisin Maguire

Image Credit: WikiMedia