Anxiety is a normal psychological and behavioural response to danger. In the past when in dangerous situations, a physiological response known as the flight or flight response would prepare us for action. It was useful. Today, people still experience anxiety in dangerous situations and when faced with new challenges.
However, if someone experiences an intense anxious response without facing a dangerous situation, or if anxiety begins to limit normal living, anxiety can become a problem.
Outlined below are a number of anxiety disorders successfully treated at PsychWell:
Generalised Anxiety is characterised by worry. You can think of the worry involved here as mental problem solving, mainly involving negative future events. It might be worry about health, performance, rejection, but commonly finding it difficult to control worry. Often feeling out of control about worries and concerns.
Generalised Anxiety symptoms:
- Anxiety or worry about several things has occurred for at least the past 6-months.
- The worry experienced is excessive and uncontrollable, is present most days, and interferes with the ability to focus on tasks.
At least 3 of the following symptoms also need to be present for the past 6-months or longer:
- Feeling restless, keyed up, on edge and unable to relax
- Physical tension.
- Sleep disturbance. Having trouble falling asleep, maintaining sleep, or experiencing unsettled sleep.
- Problems concentrating and focusing on a task.
- Feeling irritable.
- Feeling tired or exhausted easily.
Diagnosis and Treatment:
Often symptoms can overlap with depression and other anxiety problems. Seeing a mental health practitioner for diagnosis and treatment is an important step to management and recovery.
The recommended treatment for generalised anxiety involves cognitive behaviour therapy.
For those people experiencing the effects of generalised anxiety, it can have a very negative effect, limiting life participation, work options and relationships. If you are experiencing the restrictions of generalised anxiety telephone today to book an appointment and discuss your treatment options.
Understanding panic requires understanding fear. If exposed to a wild animal, dangerous situation or threatened in some way, for most people, they would experience panic. Our bodies automatically respond so that we are able to defend ourselves or escape from a threatening situation.
This response, also known as the 'fight-or-flight' response, involves activity in our nervous system. We become more alert, our heartbeat speeds up, the muscles get tense ready for action, sweating increases to cool the body, and breathing rate speeds up so that we can get oxygen into our bodies more rapidly. With these changes we are able to run very quickly or fight our 'enemies'.
Sometimes, experiencing these symptoms without intense danger is like a false alarm. It’s like sounding the fire alarm siren, when there is no fire. A panic attack is a similar false alarm.
Panic Attack symptoms include:
- Skipping racing or pounding heart
- Trembling or shaking
- Choking sensations
- Nausea, stomach, problems or sudden diarrhoea
- Tingling or numbness in parts of the body
- Detached from your body
- Fear of dying
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Chest pain, tightness or pressure in the chest
- Dizziness, light-headedness, feeling faint
- Hot flushes or chills
- Thoughts of loosing control of going crazy
- Feeling things around you are strange, unreal, detached, unfamiliar, or feeling numb
A panic attack can be very frightening and you may feel a strong desire to escape the situation. Many of the symptoms may appear to indicate some medical condition and some people seek emergency assistance. It is common to belief that the person might faint, during a panic attack. Highly unlikely due to the physiological system producing the panic attack.
Sometimes panic attacks can occur during sleep, which can be very frightening. Without an obvious trigger waking from sleep in a state of panic.
Panic attacks in, and of themselves, are not a psychiatric condition. However, panic attacks constitute the key ingredient of Panic Disorder if the person experiences at least 4 symptoms of the list previously described, the attacks peak within about 10 minutes and the person has a persistent fear of having another attack.
Some people who consistently experience panic attacks and worry about the consequences of the attack. Affected by the worry to such a significant degree, people avoid such panic with worry and concern about situations associated with the panic. When this avoidance is severe it is called Agoraphobia.
Panic attack are very common effecting more than 22.7% of the population with people reporting panic experience over their lifetime. 3.7% have experienced Panic Disorder and 1.1% have experienced Panic Disorder plus Agoraphobia.
If left untreated, Panic Disorder may become accompanied by depression, other anxiety disorders, dependence on alcohol or drugs and may also lead to significant social and occupational impairment. If you are experiencing panic and agoraphobia call today to book an appointment and discuss treatment.
Phobias or specific phobia is the fear of an object, animal or situation. Some of the things people are afraid of include, heights, enclosed spaces, flying, the danger of falling, suffocating and drowning, various animals including snakes, insects and spiders. Of-course, we all have things that we are wary of. People with specific phobias become anxious in anticipation of encountering the situation or object.
The most common fears in a research study were fears of bugs, mice, snakes, bats, heights, water, public transportation, storms, closed spaces, tunnels, and bridges. Many people reporting they feared several things and avoided them. Where 11% of people reported a specific phobia. When confronted by the situation etc their fears were persistent, experiencing intense anxiety, and wanted to avoid the same or similar situations.
Specific Phobia symptoms:
- Accelerated heart rate
- Muscle tension
- Increased breathing rate
- Wanting to escape the situation
If you experience the limitations of specific phobia and want to overcome the debilitating anxiety effects in certain situations, you can. Treatment can be simple and effective using tried and proven techniques with cognitive behaviour therapy. Telephone to book an initial interview and discuss and treatment plan.
Social phobia is described as an anxiety or fear that occurs in social situations. Even the most confident of people can experience anxiety in certain stressful situations. But the people who experience social anxiety can be so overwhelmed that they can find it difficult to cope. Just thinking about the situation might be sufficient to trigger the anxiety.
This feeling of social anxiety or phobia might occur only in certain situations, such as at gatherings of a large group of people, or giving presentation.
Do you experience any social anxiety in these situations?
- Large groups of people (Parties or social gatherings)
- Meeting new people
- Talking to people in authority
- Being watched while doing something such as eating, or signing your name
- Being the centre of attention
- Looking people in the eye
- Giving presentations
It’s common for people with social anxiety to focus on concerns and worries in certain situations.
Thoughts about the social situations often develop negative beliefs about themselves. You might worry about what other people think about you. You might focus on how other people react to you, wondering about how you look, or what they think about you.
Sometimes people with social anxiety develop high personal standards or high standards for situations that can lead to limiting participation. Maybe a friend has called around to ask you to go out to a party. You don't go. These experiences can lead to feeling anxiety symptoms. These symptoms might be like your own response to similar situations:
- Rapid breathing
- Trembling or shaking
- Tightness in your chest or chest pain
- Light headedness, dizziness or feeling faint
- Dry throat and mouth
- Heart palpitations or racing heart
- Sweating or feeling hot
- Numbness or tingling sensation
Sometimes people with social anxiety have never learned the social skills or forgotten them because of isolation and avoidance. And it can be avoidance of social situations, trying to escape, feeling intense distress during the situations you can’t avoid. Is what keeps the social anxiety growing.
Effective treatments for social anxiety can reduce symptoms and resolve difficulties. Contact us to book a consultation to discuss treatment today.