What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is a wide spread term that is used for a variety of conditions that induce feelings of nervousness, worry or fear. The effects of anxiety are not limited only to the mind, but can also cause physical symptoms. While we all from time to time will have feelings of anxiety, worry or stress, this is different to an anxiety disorder. If your symptoms do not go away on their own, they can start to overcome your life. The most common different types of anxiety are:
Generalised Anxiety Disorder
Someone with Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) feels anxious on most days and about lots of different things, for an extended period of time.
A person with a specific phobia has intense fear about a particular situation or thing, and will go to an extreme extent to avoid them.
It is a type of anxiety involving the fear of being judged and evaluated negatively by other people, leading to feelings of inadequacy, inferiority, self-consciousness, embarrassment, humiliation, and depression. Learn more about social anxiety.
Panic attacks are sudden periods of intense fear or heightened anxiety with associated physiological symptoms. People can feel they are dying or having a heart attack. Repeated panic attacks are considered to be attributed to Panic Attach Disorder. Read more about panic attacks and panic disorder.
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?
- Dry mouth and/or difficulty swallowing
- Sweaty palms
- Increased breathing rhythm
- Rapid heart rate
- Hot flushes
- Muscle tension and headaches
- Tightness in the chest
- Difficulty concentrating
- Negative thinking
- Catastrophic thinking
- Worrying about serious illness
- Intrusive thoughts
- Irrational thinking
- Sexual difficulties
- Constant Fear
- Over-sensitivity and tearfulness
- Low self-esteem
- Feeling incapable of doing everyday things
Strategies to help manage anxiety
- Identify stress and trigger factors
- Breathing exercises
- Relaxation techniques
- Reduce caffeine intake
- Regular physical exercise
Getting help for anxiety
Psychology Melbourne’s psychologists will give you an initial test to assess your level of anxiety and provide you with the appropriate treatment, to help you manage and overcome your anxiety.