What is anxiety?

Anxiety is a condition which we all suffer from time to time. It's usually the feeling that we get when we are responding to something that might be scary. Anxiety can be a very debilitating condition, often interfering with not only work, but also family life and relationships.

Anxiety can vary in levels of intensity, from that strange butterfly feeling we get just before we are about to go on stage, to severe panic attacks.

There are many different kinds of anxiety, and they are usually diagnosed and placed into one of the following categories: general anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, OCD, panic disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.

General anxiety disorder or GAD is a condition where an individual will feel constantly anxious or worried. There may not necessarily be any specific reason why that person is worrying, but they have this constant feeling of anxiousness. For a diagnosis of general anxiety disorder, the person must have had the condition for at least six months. From a treatment perspective, usually cognitive behavioural therapy, which specialises in learning how to reorganise and cope with our fears, is a very effective form of treatment.

Social anxiety disorder, which was formerly known as social phobia, is where people become anxious or stressed and social situations. This could be if someone has to speak in public, or in front of a large crowd, or having dinner with a few friends. People who have this condition usually fear being judged or embarrassed in group situations. Counselling, medications or both are usually very effective in treating this particular condition.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder or OCD is where you develop a routine to help cope with situations that are beyond your control. These routines are usually very repetitive and can involve anything from repeatedly checking that doors are secure, to having very strict routines. If you defer from these routines you might have an uncontrollable fear something bad might happen. Psychotherapy is a very effective in dealing with this condition, as this form of therapy can help identify specific fears and develop appropriate coping mechanisms to help combat the OCD.

Panic disorder is where people feel anxiousness with severe physical symptoms. This is often referred to as a panic attack, which usually has the physical symptoms of shortness of breath, palpitations, chest pain, sweating and dizziness. It is more common in women than men, but it can be effectively managed with cognitive therapy.

Post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD is a disorder that occurs when a person has experienced an extreme act of violence, or witnessed said act. This would include, such things as rape, car accidents, and natural disasters. These memories can often be very vivid, causing clients to relive this experience through flashbacks, dreams and so forth. PTSD can be cured with therapy, as it allows that person to explore how they feel about that event, sometimes medication can be effective, but for the best result I would always recommend combination of both.

If you have any of these conditions you need not live with this debilitating condition. You can seek a professional therapist or consult a professional organisation such as Anxiety UK, either of which can help you start your journey to an anxiety free life. Don't hold back; seek help today.  

Counselling Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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Written by Brian Turner BA (Hons.) MNCS Snr Accred / Supervisor. (Prof. Dip PsyC)

I am Brian Turner and I am therapist that uses a combined approach to assist with long standing conditions such as anxiety. I use a variety of techniques to achieve successful results for all of my clients setting them free from unwanted behaviours and thoughts. If you are interested in a free consultation please contact me today.… Read more

Written by Brian Turner BA (Hons.) MNCS Snr Accred / Supervisor. (Prof. Dip PsyC)

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