What is anxiety?

Anxiety is a little different tohttp://montblancsalus.com/wp-admin/nav-menus.php stress.  Rather than a feeling of overbearing or intrusive pressure, it manifests itself as a feeling of unease, such as worry or fear, that can be mild or severe.  It is an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts and physical changes like increased blood pressure and can be caused by a variety of different things, including specific or general situations, objects or circumstances.

Everyone has feelings of anxiety at some point in their life – for example, you may feel worried and anxious about sitting an exam, or having a medical test or job interview.  At times like these, feeling anxious is perfectly normal.  Feeling anxious at times is not only normal but it can also be useful.

While anxiety and the heightened state of awareness it brings about is useful in the face of imminent physical dangers, it’s not particularly useful in other circumstances.  For example, if the thought of making a presentation at work, taking an exam, a driving test, running a big race or taking a flight makes you want to run and hide, or makes you feel physically sick, it’s not very helpful.  Particularly if you also find yourself completely pre-occupied for weeks before the event.  If there’s not a clearly defined physical threat, you might find yourself with a heightened state of anxiety for weeks.  Often, people find it hard to control their worries. Feelings of anxiety are more constant and this can often affect daily life.

People with anxiety disorders usually have recurring intrusive thoughts or concerns. They may avoid certain situations out of worry (people who have a fear of flying might avoid getting on a plane, those who have a fear of water might avoid going swimming etc) and this can place unnecessary or unhelpful restrictions on normal day to day life.  They may also experience uncomfortable or unwanted physical symptoms such as sweating, trembling, dizziness or a rapid heartbeat.

How might anxiety affect me?

Anxiety is the main component of several conditions, including:

  • Panic disorder;
  • Phobias such as a fear of needles or blood, flying, agoraphobia or claustrophobia;
  • Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) which might occur after a traumatic accident or life-event;
  • Social (performance) anxiety disorder (SAD); and
  • General anxiety disorder (GAD).

What are the general effects of anxiety disorders?  

Anxiety can affect you both physically and mentally.  How severe the symptoms are varies from person to person. Some people have only one or two symptoms, while others have many more.  If anxiety is affecting your daily life, you should consult your GP or see a specialist counsellor, psychologist or therapist.

Anxiety can cause changes in your behaviour and the way you think and feel about things, resulting in symptoms such as:

  • restlessness;
  • a sense of dread;
  • feeling disinterested or lacking in motivation for things that you would usually find enjoyable;
  • feeling constantly “on edge”;
  • difficulty concentrating;
  • irritability;
  • feeling self-critical or lacking in self-esteem or confidence; or
  • a change in appetite.

Your symptoms may cause you to withdraw from social contact (seeing your family and friends) to avoid feelings of worry and dread.  You may also find normal things such as going out or going to work difficult and stressful, and may take time off sick. These actions can make you worry even more about yourself and increase your lack of self-esteem.

Anxiety can also have a number of physical symptoms, including (but not limited to):

  • dizziness;
  • tiredness;
  • a noticeably strong, fast or irregular heartbeat (palpitations);
  • tightness in the chest;
  • muscle aches and tension;
  • trembling or shaking;
  • the feeling of having a dry mouth;
  • excessive sweating;
  • shortness of breath;
  • stomach ache or the need to go to the toilet urgently;
  • feeling sick;
  • headaches;
  • pins and needles; and
  • difficulty falling or staying asleep (insomnia).

I offer treatment for a number of anxiety-related disorders, including (but not limited to the following):

Please click on the link to the relevant page for further information, or contact me to arrange a free 20 minute face-to-face meeting or to book an 90 minute initial consultation.   http://montblancsalus.com/contact/