Therapy can help those who suffer from Anxiety - this includes those diagnosed with Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and those who experience panic attacks.
GAD is the problem of having excessive and uncontrollable worry about a number of different topics, lasting for at least a six month period. Many people will have had the problem for much longer than that. Anxiety takes the form of worrying about bad things happening. It can be really debilitating as the worry tends to just jump from topic to topic and it's easy for quality of life to suffer and become very consumed with the content of these worries. Therapy is a good place to explore what is going on and to begin to make some important changes to help.
In the below section I've written a bit more about anxiety.
“Worrying is carrying tomorrow’s load with today’s strength- carrying two days at once. It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time. Worrying doesn’t empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.” Corrie ten Boom
The purpose of anxiety
Emotions have an evolutionary purpose - they have some function that is useful for human beings in a dangerous world. Anxiety helps us evaluate and react to the environment around us. It helps us to perceive danger and increases the chance of taking urgent action should we detect risks. Our problems start when this helpful facility begins to work in ways that are no longer helpful to us, but instead cause us to suffer. Perhaps our 'risk detection' system becomes too sensitive in some way.
So, what is anxiety? Why do I 'have it’?
Several factors are usually in play, all of which combine to create anxiety: these are genetic (e.g. genes / physical factors), your personal psychological makeup (e.g. how you think, feel and behave), and the environment you are in (e.g. stresses and strains in your life) .
It can sometimes help to think of anxiety as our emotional expression towards uncertainty. As we develop in childhood we create our own psychological 'maps' that help us make sense of our environment and the people in it. As these develop in sophistication, we use these maps to make predictions about the future. But when in difficult situations where things are uncertain, our ability to make reliable predictions is reduced and anxiety can arise. The structures in our brain that are responsible for threat-management start to do their job, and we experience the physical and psychological feelings of anxiety. This is a warning that something is uncertain and may require action.
When anxiety takes hold, we can also begin to fear the fear of uncertainty, creating a kind of vicious circle.
Anxiety can take form in our lives in a number of ways, including phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorders, situational or separation anxiety, generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) and other conditions.
Why do more people seem to be suffering from anxiety issues?
The world today is unrecognisable from the world a few generations ago. Technology means we need increasingly complex psychological 'maps'of the world to navigate an extremely difficult environment. We can feel under pressure to live lives that, sometimes, may go against our own inner wisdom. This can lead to uncertainty, insecurity and anxieties. Therapy can be a good place to examine all these things.
Anxiety is often identifiable through the presence of certain symptoms. Here are a few typical ones, but this is not exhaustive:
· Excess ‘worry’
· General feelings of upset & unease
· Feeling shaky/dizzy
· Feeling like you might faint/pass out
· Thinking unpleasant thoughts
· Thinking that you might “go crazy” or sense of impending doom
· Physical symptoms, including: increased heat rate, heart palpitations, shallow/fast/difficult breathing, muscular tension, dizziness, tightness across the chest, headaches, hot flush, sweating, dry mouth, panic attacks (a combination of two or more of the above symptoms).
Anxiety is very commonly experienced. It is estimated that 1 in 10 adults may suffer from a disabling anxiety disorder in their life, but it is a very treatable and therapy can really help. Check out the link in detail, some useful information is there.
I suffer from anxiety, what steps can I take today?
Therapy can help through addressing psychological foundations and also managing the symptoms of anxiety. There are various techniques that will help reduce the level of anxiety you feel.
I also encourage you also to take steps to help yourself today. Anxiety in the right dose is intended to help, and it is important to bring this back into a helpful balance. To deal with physiological reactions, you can try deliberately inducing the opposite states. For example, should you find your breathing becoming rapid and shallow, consciously relax the body and bring attention to your hands and feet. Making sure to exhale fully (and leaving a one second pause before beginning the next breath), take three slow, deep breaths into your lungs. Your focus stays split between feet, hands, and the breath. Repeat for a minute or two. Count just to three then start again.Note after a minute your symptoms will most likely have begun to subside. You have brought them under control.