We have all dealt with anxiety throughout our lives. For the most part it’s short lived and we can deal with it in our own time. However anxiety can become a problem that can severely limit and disrupt our everyday lives.
Anxiety is a feeling of doom, unease, or apprehensiveness when no danger is imminently present. It can produce the same stress responses as fear, i.e. muscle tension, increased heart rate, and shortness of breath to name a few. These bodily changes occur due to an inborn fight-or-flight stress response that is believed to be necessary for our survival.
And when anxiety starts to affect our life?
Anxiety is usually associated with a fear response that we have experienced in the past. Throughout our lives we encounter traumas that are stored in our minds along with the associated fear response. When our minds associate normal everyday situations with these fear responses it can produce anxiety for the wrong reasons. For example if an adult was bullied as a child, they may experience social anxiety because there mind associates social interaction with the fear they experienced as a child. When anxiety causes such distress, that it interferes with a person's ability to lead a normal life then it becomes an Anxiety Disorder. The most common anxiety disorder is:
Social anxiety is the fear of interaction with other people that brings on self-consciousness, feelings of being negatively judged and evaluated, and, as a result, leads to avoidance.
Panic Disorder (Panic Attacks)
People with this condition have feelings of terror that strike suddenly and repeatedly with no warning. Other symptoms of a panic attack include sweating, chest pain, palpitations (unusually strong or irregular heartbeats), and a feeling of choking, which may make the person feel like he or she is having a heart attack.
What Are the Symptoms of an Anxiety Disorder?
Symptoms vary depending on the type of anxiety disorder, but general symptoms include:
- Feelings of panic, fear, and uneasiness
- Problems sleeping
- Cold or sweaty hands and/or feet
- Shortness of breath
- Heart palpitations
- An inability to be still and calm
- Dry mouth
- Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet
- Muscle tension
Cognitive behavioral therapy is one of the most effective forms of psychotherapy for anxiety disorder. Generally a short-term treatment, cognitive behavioral therapy focuses on teaching you specific skills to gradually return you to the activities you've avoided because of anxiety. Through this process, your symptoms improve as you build on your initial success.
CBT is a structured therapy, which involves a partnership between the client and therapist. Together we will examine all elements that maintain a problem, including your thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. You are fully involved in planning your treatment and I will always let you know what is happening.