Counselling for Anxiety

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What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is used to describe feelings of worry, fear and unease. Typically, it incorporates both the emotional and physical sensations we experience when worried or nervous.  Anxiety is related to the ‘fight', 'flight’ or 'freeze' responses and, while unpleasant, this is a normal reaction when our body perceives a threat.  We will all feel anxious at some time and it’s very common to feel tense or unsure about a potentially stressful situation, such as an exam, starting a new job, or moving home. However, some of us will be affected more than others.  Despite being a normal experience, if these feelings are very strong or are lasting a long time, it can be overwhelming.  While some people will know what causes their anxiety; after experiencing a traumatic event, for example, others will not have such an identifiable reason.  Not knowing the cause of anxiety can sometimes cause a person to experience further distress - if they don’t know the trigger, how can they overcome it?

What are the symptoms of Anxiety?

People often experience physical, psychological and behavioural symptoms when they feel anxious or stressed.

Some of the most common physical symptoms of anxiety are:


Increased heart rate

Increased muscle tension

“Jelly legs”

Tingling in the hands and feet

Hyperventilation (over breathing)

Dizziness

Difficulty in breathing

Wanting to use the toilet more often

Feeling sick

Tight band across the chest area

Tension headaches

Hot flushes

Increased perspiration

Dry mouth

Shaking

Choking sensations

Palpitations


Some of the most common psychological symptoms (the thoughts or altered perceptions we have) of anxiety are:


Thinking that you may lose control and/or go “mad”

Thinking that you might die

Thinking that you may have a heart attack/be sick/faint/have a brain tumour

Feeling that people are looking at you and observing your anxiety

Feeling as though things are speeding up/slowing down

Feeling detached from your environment and the people in it

Feeling like wanting to run away/escape from the situation

Feeling on edge and alert to everything around you


Common anxiety disorders include:


Generalised anxiety disorder

If you often feel anxious or fearful, but not anxious about a specific event or experience, you may be diagnosed with GAD. Typically, these feelings are related to everyday tasks, such as stress at home or work, but other times you may not know why you are feeling anxious.


Phobias

A phobia is an intense fear of something - no matter how dangerous or threatening it may be to you. Coming into close contact with the feared situation may cause you to feel anxious. In some cases, even the thought of said situation can trigger anxiety.


Panic disorder

f you experience seemingly unpredictable panic attacks, and are unable to identify a trigger, you may be diagnosed with panic disorder. Symptoms include shortness of breath, feeling faint and trembling.


Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)

OCD comprises of obsessional thoughts followed by compulsive urges. The obsessions are recurring urges, thoughts or images that can cause you to feel anxious. Compulsions are the actions or thoughts that you feel the need to do or repeat. Compulsions are typically a response to ease the anxiety of an obsession.


Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

After experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event, and are experiencing flashbacks or nightmares, you may be diagnosed with PTSD. These reactions can make you feel like you’re reliving the fear and anxiety over and over again.

How can I get help?


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