It is normal and healthy to feel sad or worried about life and its problems and pressures. But when worry affects your everyday life you may be suffering from anxiety or depression.
A quarter of the population will suffer from anxiety at some time in their lives – even more than those affected by depression.
- General anxiety
- Panic disorders
We all need basic emotions like love, approved hate, page anger, fear and sadness to help us manage our lives and survive. They bring with them chemical changes in the body which have ensured our survival from threats and danger.
Often anxiety and depression have no movement like other emotions and persist, bringing no change or resolution. For many people anxiety is a fear with no particular cause, just an overwhelming, constant worry which dominates their life. It can become more powerful and the sufferer becomes trapped in a vicious circle, becoming anxious about being anxious.
Symptoms can include changes in appetite, lack of sleep, loss of energy, loss of concentration, lack of motivation, headaches and dizziness. There may be physical pain and loss of control including shaking, trembling, sweating and needing the toilet more often.
Relationships can be affected too as the anxious person withdraws from the people around them or their behaviour is dominated by the anxiety. It can affect their partner, family and colleagues.
Anxiety is often accompanied by intense mental and physical sensations. Cold sweats, trembling, tingling and palpitations are all common symptoms in both anxiety and depression, which often interact. The physical and mental symptoms often create a cycle which can be triggered by any one of these symptoms.
- Anxiety and depression can run in families as a result of learned behaviour or a genetic disposition.
- Drugs, legal and illegal, can alter moods and may trigger anxiety.
- An illness or trauma may also leave us with a tendency feel anxious.
When is the right time to seek help?
Anxiety is a problem which feeds on itself and is often covered up and dealt with in isolation. Help should be sought as soon as possible. If physical symptoms are severe consult your doctor. Counselling may help to face the fears and rebuild self-esteem.
What aspects of anxiety can Counselling address?
- Help to confront and tolerate your fears
- Defining and overriding your most common anxieties
- Managing and understanding panic attacks
- Learning to be more assertive to manage your life better
- Understanding your own limits and triggers for anxiety and stress
Sometimes understanding where the anxiety originated can help realise a new perspective and relaxation techniques can be used to break the cycle.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy has a structured approach to dealing with anxiety in stages. It allows sufferers to look at their own unhealthy thinking and uses exercises in desensitisation and exposure to help people face their fears and anxieties. Psychotherapy can look at the origins of the anxiety and offer new perspectives.