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Escaping the prison of anxiety

Is it time to consult a psychologist?

For people who suffer from Generalised Anxiety Disorder - a condition that affects roughly one third of the population at some time in their lives - finding relief can be like being set free from a prison.

We all experience moments of anxiety. A critical job interview; a public speaking engagement; an academic test, even visiting the GP can all produce those relatively common sensations - churning stomach, sweaty palms, tensed muscles, sleeping difficulties, even nausea etc. - from time to time.

But if those symptoms have become pretty much an everyday experience, you may be suffering from Generalised Anxiety Disorder. That sort of chronic anxiety makes it difficult to cope with demands of normal life. It can cause problems at work and in relationships and it can lead to depression and have serious consequences.

Anxiety disorders can lead to irrational feelings of guilt and what one former sufferer, one-time New Zealand All-Black Rugby winger and now international coach Sir John Kirwan described as "raw fear - a series of very, very scary thoughts that are controlling you". People who suffer from anxiety often torment themselves by "catastrophising", constantly telling themselves to expect doom and disaster.

Anxiety can be treated

The way anxiety disorders manifest themselves differ. They can include OCD, agoraphobia, social anxiety or panic attacks. For a diagnosis of Generalised Anxiety Disorder, the sufferer must have experienced at least three of the most common symptoms for at least six months and have difficulty controlling them.

Many clients find relief through Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or exposure therapy and systematic desensitisation, which are some of the forms of anxiety treatment practised by the experienced team of psychologists who deal with the condition at Psychology Melbourne. Our psychologists also teach clients relaxation, biofeedback and other techniques.

What are some of the signs of anxiety?

Physical

  • Dry mouth and/or difficulty swallowing
  • Sweaty palms
  • Increased breathing rhythm.
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Hot flushes
  • Muscle tension and headaches
  • Tightness in the chest

Cognitive

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Negative thinking
  • Catastrophic thinking
  • Worrying about serious illness
  • Intrusive thoughts
  • Irrational thinking

Emotional

  • Sexual difficulties
  • Irritability
  • Constant Fear
  • Over-sensitivity and tearfulness
  • Low self-esteem
  • Feeling incapable of doing everyday things
  • Hyper-vigilance

Strategies to help manage anxiety

  • Identify stress and trigger factors
  • Breathing exercises
  • Relaxation techniques
  • Reduce caffeine intake
  • Regular physical exercise

Getting help for anxiety

    If you think you need help with anxiety or depression, or would like further information, please contact us.

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    "Nothing prepares the brain for the heavy changes in the heart."

    —US Poet Laureate, Charles Wright

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