Therapy for Anxiety in Guildford and Woking, Surrey.
What is anxiety?
Experiencing nervousness before a test or big event is completely normal, but when worrying interferes with the way you live your life and your day to day functioning, you may be experiencing a more disruptive kind of anxiety.
Anxiety is a general term used to describe issues of nervousness, fear and worry. The 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM-5) characterises anxiety as a state of anticipation of negative outcomes. When people are anxious they generally feel irritable, tense, nervous and uptight.
There are several characteristics associated with anxiety, some of which include:
- Feelings of panic or fear
- Sleep deprivation
- Shortness of breath
- Heart palpitations
- becoming easily fatigued
- difficulties in concentration
- muscle tension
- avoidance behaviours
- changes in temperature
Experiencing Anxiety Beyond Your Control
Immediate response to stress - this reaction generally surfaces within minutes or hours of experiencing a stressful situation. Immediate stress reactions occur after a sudden life crisis such as the loss of a loved one, accident or divorce. Some traits include irritability, mood swings and sleep deprivation.
Delayed reaction to stress - characteristics of stress or traumatic events can sometimes develop days or weeks after the stressful experience has occurred. In some instances, traits of anxiety can include depression.
Stress after traumatic events - occurs after a serious traumatic event and feelings of anxiety tend to last for around a month, but can go on for much longer if not treated.
Anxiety is one of the main characteristics associated with stress, but others include:
- Recurring memories or flashbacks of the event
- Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
- Avoiding places or people that trigger memories of the event
- Feelings of detachment from friends and family
- A loss of a felt sense of security where your lack of a sense of safety or ability to trust in yourself or others makes the world a scary place to be in.
Experiencing Repeated or Elevated Fear
Fear of people - also known as social phobia, you become anxious when you try to figure out what others are thinking about them. You may tend to avoid meeting new people as they fear embarrassment.
Fear of open spaces and public areas - If you suffer from agoraphobia, you may have a fear of travelling via public transport, using a lift, walking through crowds of people or entering public places.
Other intense fears linked to anxiety include:
- Fear of choking
- Being alone
- Fear of specific animals
- Confined spaces
- Fear of injections and/or needles
Other types of anxiety
You do not have to have been diagnosed with a specific anxiety disorder to be able to get support for anxiety. Many people, who do not meet the criteria for a formal diagnosis, struggle with anxiety difficulties which can impact many areas of their life and well-being.
Panic Disorder - Panic Disorder is characterised by having panic attacks on a regular basis. A panic attack recurs as a reaction to a situation that you might find stressful and can last up between five to ten minutes. Characteristics associated with panic attacks include heart palpitations, shortness of breath, trembling, sweating, chest pains and numbness, amongst others .
Fear of separation - this occurs when you are separated from a person or place to which you are very attached and results in high levels of anxiety.
Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) - experiencing anxiety on most or all days. It is often caused by stress at work or at home although in many cases individuals do not know where it came from or can attribute it to any situation in their life- this often worries people as they feel they need to know the root of their difficulties in order to be able to overcome them. Traits include feeling easily tired, restless, irritable and suffering from sleep deprivation.
Having no control - experiencing obsessive thoughts that are followed by compulsive urges or actions. Experiencing recurring and intrusive thoughts, images or feelings that make you feel anxious and take actions to prevent the recurrence of the stressful concept.