When anxiety strikes!

Could you be suffering symptoms of anxiety?

We are all unique and cope with stress in different ways. At times of stress the consequence of anxiety may affect us both psychologically and/or physically. It may be stress related, or you may simply have an anxious disposition that at times can feel more present. 

A degree of anxiety keeps us safe; like when walking down a dark street at night feeling somewhat anxious. 

But when a lengthened, heightened state of anxiety strikes for no apparent reason, it can feel overwhelming and impact on functioning and then feel almost impossible for the individual to recognise and identify what is happening. 

When you have insight into what is causing your anxiety you can start to understand what is happening, and take control of the symptoms, rather than let them take control of you.

If you are continuing to read this article, it may be because you are trying to make sense of the symptoms you are experiencing right now. You may be experiencing generalised anxiety (where the symptoms come and go for no apparent reason), or phobic anxiety (where the symptoms are present in a particular situation), or panic anxiety (where the symptoms are irregular and unrelated to any particular situation).

The following symptoms may be present in many other disorders, and should always be checked out with the medical profession (i.e. your GP).  However, the following is also a summary of symptoms that may be present in anxiety.

Psychological arousal:

  • fearful anticipation

  • irritability

  • sensitivity to noise

  • restlessness

  • poor concentration

  • worrying thoughts.

Autonomic arousal:

Gastrointestinal -

  • dry mouth

  • difficult in swallowing

  • tummy discomfort

  • excessive wind

  • frequent loose motions.

Respiratory -

  • constriction in chest area

  • difficulty inhaling.

Cardiovascular -

  • palpitations

  • discomfort in chest

  • awareness of missed heartbeats.

Genitourinary -

  • frequent urination

  • failure of erection

  • menstrual discomfort

  • amenorrhea.

Muscular tension –

  • tremor

  • headache

  • aching muscles.

Hyperventilation –

  • dizziness

  • tingling in the extremities

  • feeling of breathlessness.

Sleep disturbance –

  • insomnia

  • night terrors.

(Above information taken from: Shorter Oxford Textbook of Psychiatry, Part 1, Fourth Edition, 2002.)

The above is only a summary of symptoms that are found in anxiety and should always be checked out by a medical professional in conjunction with seeking help.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence advise the NHS medical profession...

“Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) is a common condition that can be recognised by chronic, excessive worry about a number of different events associated with heightened tension. GAD can vary in its severity and complexity for each person, and for this reason it is very important to consider how each patient should be treated individually”.

Above quotation taken from: http://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg113/resources/nice-updates-guidance-on-generalised-anxiety-disorder, as at the 22nd of August 2014.

For the treatment of Generalised Anxiety Disorder the The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines recommend....

“Updated recommendations include:

  • Recognition and communication of the diagnosis of GAD should occur as early as possible to help people understand the disorder and start effective treatment promptly.

  • For people with GAD whose symptoms do not improve with education and active monitoring, offer one or more of the following as a first-line intervention, guided by the person's preference: individual non-facilitated self-help, individual guided self-help or psycho-educational groups[1].

  • Offer an individual high-intensity psychological intervention or a pharmacological intervention to people with GAD with marked functional impairment or those whose symptoms have not adequately responded to low-intensity psychological interventions such as pure self-help, guided self help and psycho-educational groups.

  • Do not offer an antipsychotic for the treatment of GAD in primary care.”

    Above quotation taken from http://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg113/resources/nice-updates-guidance-on-generalised-anxiety-disorder, as at the 22nd of August 2014.

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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Hello, my name is Maggie Bell and I am a very experienced Counsellor (MBACP Acred), Hypnotherapist (GHR) & NLP Practitioner;  with over 20 years NHS experience working in the community, inpatients, outpatients and private practice.

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