As discussed in our previous blog ‘Is depression a disability?’, a mental health condition is considered a disability if it has a long-term effect on normal day-to-day activities. The definition of ‘long-term’ is deemed as lasting, or likely to last, 12 months or more.
What is anxiety?
Anxiety is a feeling of unease, ranging from mild through to severe. We will all experience anxiety at some point in our lives – most of us will feel worried and anxious about attending a job interview, for example. This is absolutely normal, but sometimes anxiety can take hold of a person’s life, where this mixture of worry and fear begins to affect daily life. Sometimes there is an easily identifiable cause of this deep-rooted anxiety, e.g. a traumatic event, but sometimes there isn’t an obvious cause which can result in further torment.
Technically speaking, anxiety is caused by a rush of adrenaline being pumped through the body to prepare us for a potential threat. Anxiety disorders develop when this response is blown out of proportion.
Anxiety diagnosis and treatment
Other than depression, anxiety disorders are the most common mental health issue, with more than 1 in 10 people likely to have a ‘disabling anxiety disorder’ at some stage in life. Research has also found that women are twice as likely to experience anxiety than men.
There are many anxiety conditions that are triggered by specific phobias, e.g. Claustrophobia; the fear of confined spaces. But there are five main types of anxiety disorders;
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Panic Disorder
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Social Phobia (or Social Disorder)
If anxiety is affecting daily life or causing you or a loved one regular distress, it’s time to visit your GP. Treatment is dependent on the severity of the anxiety; mild, moderate or severe. So, treatments can range between practising positive thinking, engaging in exercise and talking therapies to medication.
With extra funding being funnelled into mental health research and treatment in Britain, it’s encouraging to note that the NHS experienced a record high recovery rate for common mental illness during 2016/17 – where 49.3% of people completing talking therapy treatment for anxiety or depression recovered from their condition.
Anxiety and the workplace
The workplace can be particularly stressful, so it’s imperative that good employers take the time to learn what anxiety is. Reasonable adjustments in the workplace for anxiety sufferers include:
- Creating a clear strategy that supports staff to be open about their mental health
- A flexible approach to hours, shift patterns, breaks or the physical environment
- Workload support
- Implementing a mentoring scheme
- Offering mediation between colleagues
- More constructive feedback, so employees know when they’ve done a good job and therefore feel valued.
Anxiety is extremely common and is nothing to be ashamed of – did you know Oprah Winfrey, Lady Gaga and even David Beckham have all spoken out about their
Shelforce focus on what employees can do, not what they can’t
As a modern high-tech business with an impressive history, increasing awareness of disability has been ingrained into our company ethos for the last 180 years. So, if you would like to learn more about what we do and how we can work together, don’t hesitate to contact us.