Havering Mind

Anxiety and Panic Attacks

Welcome to our Anxiety and Panic Attacks self-help page. Here we explain anxiety and panic attacks, including possible causes and how you can access treatment and support. We share tips for helping yourself, and guidance for 

What is anxiety?

The term anxiety describes feeling of uneasiness, fear and worry and includes both emotional and physical symptoms. Anxiety can be unpleasant to experience, but it is important to remember that it is a normal function of our central nervous system and is activated when we feel threatened.

Most people feel anxious in certain situations, such as when going to an interview, taking exams, undergoing medical treatment or doing something new. During these times, anxiety may cause a disruption to your normal reactions and patterns such as sleeping and eating. Recovery is usually fairly quick once the situation or thoughts which cause fear, worry and uneasiness, pass.

When is anxiety a problem?

It is sometimes hard to decide when anxiety has become a concern which needs attention, although if you are find the feelings of anxiety overwhelming and intense over a more prolonged period of time, you may benefit from seeking help. For example, if worrying takes up a large amount of your time, if you regularly cannot sleep at night or if you begin experiencing panic attacks.

Click here to view Havering Mind's Guide to Anxiety

What is a panic attack?

A panic attack is an overwhelming cascade of emotional and physical symptoms which usually last for up to 20 minutes. Symptoms may include:

  • Experiencing a rapid and pounding heartbeat
  • Feeling faint, dizzy and unreal
  • Tightness in the chest and throat, causing a feeling of suffocation
  • Hotness, flushing, sweating
  • Shaking and trembling
  • A feeling of desperation to escape the current situation you are in

Useful Contacts

Anxiety UK

Overview: Support, help and information for those with anxiety disorders
Telephone: 0844 477 57 74
Website: www.anxietyuk.org.uk

Anxiety Care UK

Overview: Helps people to recover from anxiety disorders
Telephone: 07552 877 219
Website: www.anxietycare.org.uk


Overview: A supportive online community which provides online peer support for anyone experiencing a mental health problem
Website: www.elefriends.org.uk


Overview: A computer-based CBT (CCBT) programme for treating panic and phobias
Website: www.fearfighter.com

Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT)

Overview: Use the NHS service search to find psychological therapies services near you
Website: www.nhs.uk/Service-Search

Institute for Complementary and Natural Medicine (ICNM)

Overview: Provides a register of practitioners of complementary medicine
Telephone: 020 79 22 79 80
Website: www.icnm.org.uk

NHS Choices – Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

Overview: Advice for people with GAD
Website: www.nhs.uk/conditions/anxiety/pages/introductionx

NHS Choices – Social Anxiety Disorder

Overview: Advice for people with Social Anxiety Disorder
Website: www.nhs.uk/conditions/social-anxiety/Pages/Social-anxietyx

No More Panic

Overview: Support and resources to help those affected by panic attacks
Website: www.nomorepanic.co.uk

Succeed Socially

Overview: A free guide to getting past social awkwardness
Website: www.succeedsocially.com

Triumph Over Phobia

Overview: Provides self-help therapy groups and support for those with OCD, phobias and related anxiety disorders
Website: www.topuk.org

Turning Point

Overview: Offers information, support and services for people experiencing drug and alcohol issues, mental health problems and learning disabilities
Website: www.turning-point.co.uk


Overview: Offers information and advice for people with anxiety and panic disorders

Website: www.webmd.boots.com/anxiety-panic/default.htm

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