NHS Buckinghamshire Talking Therapies helps people aged 18 or over with common mental health problems like:

Low mood

Low mood that lasts for a number of weeks or months and impacts your everyday life is called Depression. It can cause a variety of symptoms including:

  • Lasting feelings of unhappiness or hopelessness
  • Feeling tearful
  • Losing interest in things you used to enjoy
  • Tiredness
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Poor appetite

Some people experience frequent or uncontrollable worries about many different things in their everyday life. You may feel anxious most days and often struggle to remember the last time you felt relaxed.

We refer to this as Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) which can cause a range of symptoms including:

  • Feeling restless or worried
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Muscle tension
  • Dizziness
  • Racing heart rate

A phobia is an extreme fear or anxiety triggered by a particular situation, e.g. social situations, or a particular object, e.g. spiders.

If a phobia becomes severe, you may change your life in order to avoid what is causing the extreme anxiety. As well as limiting day-to-day life, it also causes a lot of distress.


Panic is an anxiety disorder where panic attacks occur unexpectedly and frequently without a clear cause or trigger. These are sudden periods of intense fear which may include:

  • Heart palpitations
  • Sweating
  • Shaking
  • Tight chest
  • Shortness of breath
  • Numbness
  • A feeling that something terrible is going to happen, for example, having a heart attack

Some people will constantly feel afraid of having another panic attack, to the point that this fear itself can trigger one. Often people will change their behaviour, avoiding things to try to prevent another panic attack happening.

Health anxiety

Some people spend so much time worrying about their health or getting ill, that it starts to take over their life. They might:

  • Frequently check their body for signs of illness
  • Ask people for reassurance that they are not ill
  • Worry that their doctor or medical tests may have missed something
  • Obsessively look at health information
  • Avoid information or anything to do with serious illness
  • Act as if they were ill, for example, avoid physical activities

Anxiety itself can cause symptoms like headaches or an increased heartbeat, and this can be mistaken for signs of illness.

Social anxiety

Social Anxiety, also known as Social Phobia, is an extreme and overwhelming anxiety or fear triggered by social situations (e.g. parties, work places, family events, meals out).

Often people with social anxiety fear being judged by other people. This can lead to feelings of inadequacy, embarrassment, humiliation, and can affect mood.

Experiencing this day-to-day can be very distressing and can have a big impact on your life; causing you to avoid situations or worry constantly about what others may think about you.

People can often feel very anxious to reach out for support or that they are not worthy of support. We really would encourage you to reach out for our support.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

If someone has been involved in or witnessed a traumatic event they might develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) which is an anxiety disorder. It was first recognised in war veterans, but a wide range of traumatic experiences can trigger this condition.

There are a number of symptoms associated with this condition such as:

  • Flashbacks
  • Feeling numb
  • Trouble sleeping

If a number of the symptoms continue for longer than a month after the incident then this may indicate PTSD.

Low self-esteem

Self-esteem is how we value and perceive ourselves, based on our own beliefs. Low self-esteem is often characterised by a lack of confidence and low opinion of ourselves, including thoughts of being unlovable, useless, or worthless.

People with low self esteem may:

  • Find it difficult to make decisions
  • Struggle to put across their opinions in an assertive way
  • Disregard any compliments or personal strengths
  • Be very self-critical
  • Find it difficult to be kind to themselves
Insomnia (where it is a symptom of depression or generalised anxiety disorder )

Insomnia is when you have problems sleeping or disrupted sleep, at least three nights of the week and lasting over three months. For some this might have been going on for several years.

People with insomnia usually experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Low energy
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Problems with mood
  • An impact on day-to-day functioning
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)

Distressing thoughts, images or worries that something bad will happen if you don’t do a certain actions. For example, needing to repeatedly clean the kitchen to prevent your child from getting ill or the needing to arrange items in a certain way otherwise something bad will happen to friends of family.

OCD Related Disorders

Hoarding: Hoarding disorder diagnosis assigned to individuals who excessively save items and the idea of discarding items causes extreme stress . Hoarders cannot bear to depart from any of their belongings, which results in excessive clutter to an extent that impairs functioning and may create health and safety risks.

Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD): BDD involves distress due to a perceived physical anomaly, such as a scar, the shape or size of a body part, or some other personal feature. While most individuals feel a degree of doubt or dissatisfaction with their appearance at times, individuals with BDD will experience persistent and intrusive thoughts about the imagined flaw.

Page last reviewed: 14 April, 2023