Chapter 2: Mental health concerns
Anxiety – What is it and what may cause it
What is it?
Anxiety is nervous tension and can range from mild to severe. Thinking about or experiencing changes in health and independence can make a person feel anxious. Anxiety can include a variety of symptoms. Click the arrows below to view some of these.
Tension or tightness in the body, particularly in the neck, chest, throat and stomach
Racing thoughts and difficulty concentrating – restlessness – trouble falling or staying asleep
Increased heart rate – shortness of breath or rapid, shallow breathing
“Butterflies” in the stomach – nausea and vomiting – frequent need to pass urine
Feeling cold or having “cold chills” – sweating easily, especially the hands and feet
Sometimes its difficult to determine the cause of a person’s anxiety because it might be a combination of things. Click below to see some possibilities.
Physical discomfort that may include pain or shortness of breath can occur. Either of these, when combined with anxiety, can start a vicious cycle where they can worsen each other.
Uncertainty about how an illness might progress is common. Feeling hesitant about not wanting to know is also common. The person might be unsure how to ask, feel rushed for time, or fear the answer. Sometimes asking questions can help.
A change in roles and responsibilities occurs as a person’s illness advances. The person who is ill may be unable to continue with their financial responsibilities, grocery shopping, or home maintenance. The person may worry about not being able to help anymore.
Not everyone is comfortable with the challenges that illness brings, and the person may feel a shift in their circle of friends or supports. This can feel isolating. Some people will continue to be part of their lives, while others may feel uncomfortable with the changes that illness brings.
Be sure to note any changes or concerns in the tracking journal. This will help to relay information to the healthcare provider.
Click here to see the questions the healthcare provider may ask. You might use these questions to guide the tracking journal.