What is Anxiety?
Individuals who experience anxiety are inclined to worry daily about a variety of things. The individual can become consumed with worry over a variety of issues such as social engagements, financial issues or safety concerns. Most of the time individuals who experience this are aware of their excessive worry and desperately wish they could stop worrying to help improve the quality of their daily life.
Types of Anxiety.
An anxiety disorder can develop in a number of ways. Gaining a better understanding of anxiety and its different forms is a positive first step towards learning how to deal with anxiety.
Some common diagnoses include:
- Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
GAD is the most common anxiety disorder. It is a mental health condition where the individual has uncontrollable worry and anxiety, that isn’t necessarily connected to recent stressful events, but can be brought on by certain situations.
- Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD)
SAD, or social phobia, is when the individual is affected by a significant amount of fear of avoidance within social situations, causing considerable distress and impaired ability to function in parts of daily life.
- Panic Disorder
If you have experienced unexpected and debilitating panic attacks and are also preoccupied with the fear of a recurring attack, you may have a panic disorder. A panic attack may include a rapid heartbeat, sweating, shaking, shortness of breath, numbness, or an overwhelming sense of fear.
- Specific Phobias
Specific phobias is a type of anxiety defined as an extreme fear of a particular object, activity or situation which is out of proportion with the actual level of threat posed. People struggling with a phobia feel anxious when faced with a spider or snake, aircraft travel, germs, injections, or tall buildings, as an example.
Other conditions where anxiety is commonly present:
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
An individual has ongoing unwanted or intrusive thoughts and fears that cause anxiety. Although the indvidual may acknowledge these thoughts as silly, they often try to relieve their anxiety by carrying out certain behaviours or rituals. For example, a fear of germs and contamination can lead to constant hand washing.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
PTSD can develop as a result of an individual experiencing a traumatic event. Symptoms can include difficulty relaxing, upsetting dreams or flashbacks of the event, and avoidance of anything related to the event. PTSD is diagnosed when an individual has symptoms for at least a month.
Symptoms of Anxiety
- A constant thought that something bad is about to happen.
- A constant worry that you are not doing things correctly.
- A constant need to ask questions and seeking reassurance.
- Being argumentative, especially if you are trying to avoid a specific feared situation.
- Dwelling on mistakes and worrying about a change in routine and unfamiliar places.
- Dry mouth and difficulty swallowing.
- Nightmares and sleep disturbances.
- Restlessness, irritability and difficulty concentrating.
- Muscle tension and headaches.
- Rapid heart rate and breathing.
- Panic attacks.
What Causes Anxiety?
Anxiety can be a result of external circumstances, such as relationship problems with a partner, family or friends, work-related stress, loss of employment, financial problems, loss of a loved one and any other challenging situation that life may bring. It can also be caused by a specific phobia and medical conditions.
Anxiety can be a side effect of certain medications, or a by-product of a physical illness, chronic condition, disability or traumatic event. Some individuals may be genetically disposed to anxiety if mental health disorders are present in the family or because of a history around anxious people. It is advised to work with a health professional, such as a counsellor, to uncover the root-cause of the anxiety.
Treatments for Anxiety
Psychological therapies such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) have proven to be most effective for general anxiety, as it focuses on changing negative thought patterns and behaviours.
Wellness and Recovery Centre
- Mood and Anxiety Recovery Program (MARP)
The Mood and Anxiety Program is designed to assist people with a range of emotional and mental health issues, particularly depression and anxiety. It can assist individuals with support to challenge unhelpful thoughts that are preventing them from reaching their goals or living their life. For more information, click here.