ANXIETY / PANIC ATTACKS – GAD (General Anxiety Disorder), Worry, Health Anxiety, Social Anxiety, Presentation Anxiety
Symptoms may include:
- Dry mouth
- Increased heart beat or palpitations
- Changes in breathing
- Tightness in the throat, lump in the throat
- Chest tightness or even pain
- Feeling unsteady or dizzy, fear of fainting
- Muscle tension and aches
- Flushing up the neck and face
- Feeling hot or feeling cold
- Trembling or shaking
- Feeling nauseous or abdominal upset
- Feeling like an ‘observer’
- Numbness and tingling
- Typical behaviours include: AVOIDING things
- Typical behaviours include: SAFETY SEEKING e.g. can only do things with support
- Cannot relax, restless
- Sleep problems
- Poor concentration or even going blank
- Distracted at times or focused on a ‘worry’
- Feeling edgy, jumpy
- Feeling irritable
- Feeling down
- For more about the symptoms please read up about the fight or flight (or freeze) reaction
The above are all typical of the symptoms someone may have if they are experiencing anxiety. If you recognise you are struggling with anxiety and that it is interfering with how you function in your daily life, that it is becoming unmanageable, in addition to accessing therapy, seeking the support of your GP is important.
Everyone experiences anxiety to a greater or lesser degree through their life and, for the most part, this is healthy. It can give us an added ‘edge’ during exams, before performances or competitions and encourage us to study, train more and be focused. It can also mean that we will plan more effectively for events; so that they go well or for example, that we double check we have our passport before heading off to the airport.
Anxiety is also something that we teach to our children e.g. how many of us have been told as a child that; ”If you don’t check for traffic before you cross the road you could be hit by a bus.” So we can see that in our daily life anxiety can help to keep us safe. These are the beneficial functions that a degree of anxiety brings into our life.
However, anxiety is linked to stress hormones. Cortisol and adrenaline create physical responses in our body and are why we have some of the physical symptoms described above which can make us feel uncomfortable. If our anxiety is linked strongly to fear and worry, it may be that at times in our life it ‘grows’ and starts to dominate our thinking and so how we behave. This fear and worry can be disproportionate to the events or situations around us or that we are engaged in and this is when our daily life is affected adversely by our anxiety response.
I would estimate that over half the clients I work with will have heightened anxiety to some degree. The good news is that whilst we cannot eliminate anxiety completely from our life (we might then step off that curb to cross the road without checking), that we can learn to address what is creating the fear and worry we are experiencing and learn to manage it more effectively. In this way the anxiety is no longer in control of us and we can again function and do the things we need or want to do in our life.
Many things can create anxiety in our life; previous life experiences that have been in some way distressing to us, a heightened sense of worry, stress, physical, sexual, emotional abuse, challenging relationships (either personal or workplace), trauma, physical health conditions, changes in circumstances e.g. redundancy, financial issues, Covid-19
A key concern is that the longer anxiety is left untreated and not le earning to manage it effectively in our lives, there is a possibility of the symptoms worsening and the negative impact on our daily lives including our relationships, the workplace and social life becoming greater.
Treatment focuses on understanding more about the anxiety; where it began, how long it has been in our life, learning to manage the symptoms effectively, learning relaxation techniques, understanding the trigger(s) for the anxiety and developing greater personal awareness and coping strategies.
Anxiety conditions include:
- This is basic information about these conditions and includes, but is not limited to the following)
- General Anxiety Disorder (GAD) – An individual can experience the following symptoms for a period of six months or more (DSM-V-TR) for over six months on most days; changes in concentration, sleep, fatigue, irritability, muscle tension and anxiety
- Anxiety can escalate into anxiety attacks or even panic attacks – If anxiety is not managed effectively, for some it could escalate into debilitating anxiety or even panic attacks. For those experiencing panic symptoms it can feel as though the ‘panic’ comes on unexpectedly and the physical symptoms are intense. This can leave someone with a persistent fear of more attacks, that the anxiety is completely out of their control, reduces their perception of their ability to cope with it and so the symptoms increase in severity.
- Health anxiety – where the focus of the anxiety is around health related issues specifically
- Social anxiety – where individuals experience anxiety about interacting with others. This can relate to socially mixing with others, being in crowded spaces, meeting new people etc.
- Presentation anxiety – anxiety around being the focus of other people’s attention e.g. in the workplace at meetings, literally presenting something, best man speech.
Please contact me to discuss how I can best support you on: