Anxiety is a broad term used that is used to describe issues that involve worry, apprehension and nervousness and fear.
These conditions impact upon how we feel and behave, and if not addressed can become real physical bodily symptoms.
Anxiety is perhaps the most common mental condition currently in Australia. 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men will suffer from anxiety.
Whilst people can usually identify that they have anxiety, they may not necessarily see it as a major problem.
They may think ‘being anxious’ is just a part of their normal personality or the pressures of life in 2017...it does not have to be.
How does Counselling help with Anxiety?
Anxiety that is not treated professionally, can leave the individual immobilized and studies indicate may in fact lead to depression.
This condition varies greatly from person to person. Anxiety not only impacts the individual but also their relationships with family, friends, partners, and their work colleagues.
People often experience some anxiety or a state of worry or concern before embarking on challenging life situations such as a before an exam, a new job interview or meeting new people.
Counselling will provide you with a safe outlet to explore the source of what is making you anxious, your behaviours and coping mechanisms. Alleviating the anxiety with new learned skills and techniques, avoiding triggers and stressful events/people and situations will also assist you protect yourself and reduce the anxious feelings and emotions.
Below are some conditions where Anxiety interferes with a person's normal functioning, their ability to sleep, perform tasks and when their reaction seems to be disproportionate with the situation faced.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
GAD is a condition characterized by consistent worrying that is not specific to any one thing, but can be about anything and everything such as life events, objects or situations. GAD is a condition that develops slowly over a period of time (years). This may lead people to think that it is simply a part of their personality.
Their fear of failure or disaster interferes with everyday functions like work, social activities, school and relationships.
Panic Attacks are sudden feelings of, terror or fear that strike without warning. The individual may believe that they are having a heart attack, are going crazy, or are going to die. An episode can occur abruptly and is at its most severe for around 5-10 minutes, then reducing to waves for usually no longer than an hour.
Sometimes, having experienced frequent episodes of panic, a sufferer will begin to live in constant fear that another attack is just around the corner. The constant worry about future panic attacks, in itself, triggers further episodes, and so the condition becomes chronic. Sufferers can become so actively aware of any change in their normal body function that they see it as a life threatening condition or illness. This hyper-vigilance may cause them to make drastic behavioural changes, such as avoiding particular places, situations or objects, in order to avoid these attacks.
Anxiety that stops one from participating in regular activities outside the home is called Agoraphobia. Sufferers avoid going out because they fear being trapped and that tescape might be embarrassing or difficult. Activities avoided may include taking public transport, being in large open spaces (an oval or oncert), or closed in places, e.g., watching a movie or being in a crowd or standing in a queue.
Social Anxiety or Social Phobia
Social Anxiety is an intense, excessive or irrational fear of being in social situations. This condition is not about shyness. Sufferers are acutely nervous about being closely watched and judged. Fear of being embarrassed, being criticized or humiliated in daily social interactions, having a meal in public, or being assertive at work are examples of Social Anxiety.
Symptoms may be so extreme that they disrupt friendships and intimate relationships, making the person feel powerless, alone, or even ashamed.
Phobias are intense feelings of fear of objects, situations, animals, etc. and are considered anxiety disorders. Generally speaking, phobias bring about catastrophic or ‘worst case scenario’ thinking and avoidant behaviours, i.e., doing whatever it takes to avoid the particular feared object, animal or situation.
Some people can go their entire life with a real phobia and do not require nor seek treatment. For example, a fear flying can be overcome by choosing not to fly. While this approach avoids disruption it does, no doubt, limit ones opportunities and experiences.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
In life we are exposed to certain risks that could place our lives in danger, unfortunately, it is still possible to experience a life trauma – either physically or emotionally.
These trauma can be deeply impactful and disruptive to our well-being. The after effects of such a trauma can result an anxiety problem we have all heard about, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder can be a harmful anxiety disorder. It affects more than 500,000 Australians and is the fourth most common mental health condition, after phobias, substance abuse and major depression. OCD usually develops in late childhood or early adolescence.
People with OCD often display behaviours and fears that are not only confusing to others but also themselves..
The signs of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder are the obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions are irrational fears and thoughts that invade upon on daily thoughts. Compulsions are the repetitive behaviours or rituals which occur as a response to the obsessions in an attempt to reduce anxiety.