Generalised Anxiety Disorder is defined as excessive (too much) worry over a variety of things, occurring for at least 6 months.  You may also experience the following physical symptoms as well as the worry:

  • restlessness
  • fatigue
  • poor concentration
  • irritability
  • muscle aches
  • difficulty sleeping
  • nausea, or other digestive symptoms

For a diagnosis to be made, the symptoms cannot be due to another medical condition or disorder, or due to the effects of a drug or medication.  Some medical conditions can cause the above symptoms so you should see a GP if your symptoms are severe.  A GP can refer you to a psychologist for support.  You may benefit from medication for the anxiety, however, it is generally best to attempt other forms of treatment such as cognitive behaviour therapy first.   Try talking to a counsellor at school or to your parents if you are noticing the above symptoms and they are causing you significant distress. 


You may be experiencing stress, or an adjustment disorder, rather than anxiety.  These tend to be more short term but ongoing stress can lead to other problems, such as an anxiety disorder or depression.


Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is another form of anxiety problem.  It occurs when people have frequently occurring obsessive thoughts (thoughts they can't get rid of) and feel the need to do certain behaviours (compulsions).  An example of someone with OCD might be someone who has obsessive thoughts of germs  and of getting sick.  Their compulsion might be to wash their hands obsessively.


OCD is one of the top four mental health conditions effecting adolescents.  The most effective treatment for OCD is cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) with or without medication.  See the section on study stress for more information on CBT.