DO YOU STRUGGLE WITH ANXIETY AND PANIC ATTACKS?
Anxiety is a normal response to stress or danger. It is often called the flight or fight response. Adrenalin quickly gets pumped through the body preparing it to handle whatever catastrophe may come its way. The problems arise when this response is out of proportion to the actual danger of the situation, or indeed is generated when there is no danger present at all.
WHEN DOES IT BECOME A MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEM?
Anxiety becomes a mental health problem if it impacts a persons ability to live life as fully as one want to. For example, it may be a problem if one experience:
- strong anxiety feelings that last for a long time
- fears or worries that are out of proportion to the situation
- avoiding situations that might cause one to feel anxious
- regularly symptoms of anxiety, which could include panic attacks
- hard to live life as fully as one want to or do things one enjoy
1 IN 5 SHOWS SYMPTOMS
In the UK Wellbeing Survey (2013), nearly 1 in 5 people in the UK aged 16 and older showed symptoms of anxiety or depression. This percentage was higher for females than for males. According to the Public Health Institute, one-quarter of the population will be affected by an anxiety disorder throughout life, and approximately 15% over a year.
WHAT ARE ANXIETY DISORDERS?
- GENERALISED ANXIETY DISORDER (GAD) is the most well-known. This means having unreasonable stressing and worries over ordinary occasions in the everyday life.
- SOCIAL ANXIETY DISORDER (SAD) also known as social phobia, is an anxiety disorder characterized by a significant amount of fear in one or more social situations. Having Social anxiety disorder means you experience extreme fear or anxiety triggered by social situations such as parties, workplaces, or any situation in which you have to talk to another person, causing considerable distress and impaired ability to function in at least some parts of daily life.
- PANIC DISORDER is an anxiety disorder characterized by recurrent unexpected panic attacks. Experiencing panic disorder can mean that you feel constantly afraid of having another panic attack, to the point that this fear itself can trigger your panic attacks. Panic attacks are sudden periods of intense fear that may include palpitations, sweating, shaking, shortness of breath, numbness, or a feeling that something really bad is going to happen.
- PHOBIAS is an extreme fear or anxiety triggered by a particular situation. Some of the most common phobias include: arachnophobia – fear of spiders. claustrophobia – fear of confined spaces. agoraphobia – fear of open spaces and public places and social phobia – fear of social situations.
- POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder caused by very stressful, frightening or distressing events. PTSD can cause flashbacks or nightmares which can feel like re-living all the fear and anxiety. Someone with PTSD often experience feelings of isolation, irritability and guilt. They may also have problems sleeping and find concentrating difficult
- OBSESSIVE-COMPULSIVE DISORDER (OCD) is a mental disorder where a person feel the need to check things repeatedly, perform certain routines repeatedly or have certain thoughts repeatedly.
- HEALTH ANXIETY means to experience obsessions and compulsions relating to illness. Those affected by health anxiety have an obsessional preoccupation with the idea that they are currently (or will be) experiencing a physical illness including researching symptoms or checking to see if one have them. Health anxiety is often housed within the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) spectrum of disorders.
- BODY DYSMORPHIC DISORDER (BDD) occasionally called dysmorphophobia or imagined ugliness, is a mental disorder characterized by the obsessive idea that some aspect of one’s own appearance is severely flawed. These flaws are often unnoticeable to others.
- PERINATAL ANXIETY or PERINATAL OCD is anxiety experienced during pregnancy or in the first year after giving birth. Perinatal mental health problems affect between 10 to 20% of women during pregnancy and the first year after having a baby. Read more here: Perinatal mental health in UK
WHAT ARE THE PHYSICAL SYMPTOMS?
- Butterflies in stomach
- Chest tightness
- Dry mouth
- Pins and needles
- Racing heartbeat
- Shortness of breath
- Urge to pass urine/empty bowels
Anxiety can cause very unpleasant side effects. If such intense and untreated symptoms persist over time, it can cause major problems in relationships, at work, and generally affect the experiences of safety and well-being in everyday life.
WHAT ARE THE PSYCHOLOGICAL SYMPTOMS?
- Dread that something catastrophic is going to happen (such as blackout, seizure, heart attack or death)
- Fear of losing control
- Feelings of detachment
- Inner tension
HOW THERAPY CAN HELP WITH ANXIETY
Psychotherapy and counselling with an experienced Psychologist can help you master symptoms of anxiety by mapping and explore both the underlying causes and the factors that maintain symptoms of anxiety. Therapy with a psychologist, will help you better understand your anxiety and teaching you techniques on how to deal with your anxiety in a good and healthy way.
- Wish you were less shy and less afraid of social relationships?
- Have you experienced repeated panic, tension and inner turmoil?
- Do you often feel restless and “on edge”?
- Do you find yourself often scared and anxious, fearing that something will happen without fully understanding why?
- Do you sometimes struggle with irritability, impatience and perhaps dizziness and drowsiness?
- Does it happen that you get irregular heartbeat (palpitations) and sometimes short of breath without fully understand why?
Anxiety is perhaps the most common reason people seek therapy.