Most people feel anxious at times. Anxiety is a very natural response to potentially threatening situations. When experienced appropriately, anxiety is beneficial and can keep you out of harm’s way.
For example, if we encounter a growling dog on our morning jog, anxiety triggers a surge of hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol, which make us hyper-alert to the threat. The body is prepared to stay and deal with the threat or run away to safety, which is also known as the “fight or flight” response.
Although anxiety can help to keep us safe, it can also be detrimental to our lives if we feel disproportionately anxious or when there is no threat.
People who suffer from anxiety can experience physical symptoms (e.g. increase in heart rate and tight chest, headaches, stomach pain, sickness), psychological symptoms (e.g. feeling detached from your environment and other people, thinking you might die), and behavioural symptoms (e.g. social isolation and avoidance).
Anxiety is also related to other mental health problems, such as depression and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
Some people have a very identifiable cause for their anxiety. For example, they may have experienced trauma or a significant life event (e.g. divorce, surgery, new job). If a past life event (e.g. bereavement) has been avoided and not dealt with it can also present as anxiety later on in life.
For people who do not have an identifiable cause for their anxiety, it can cause a lot of confusion. In this instance, it can be helpful to think of anxiety-like a bucket of water. If we keep adding stressors, even small ones (e.g. commuting to work), over time it fills up until one day it overflows.
Anxiety is managed and treated in different ways. We will look at how your anxiety has developed and any known triggers to it. We can then devise ways in which you can cope better with situations that are causing you distress.
Some interventions may include breathing and mindfulness techniques, distraction strategies and changing irrational thought processes. These interventions will help manage the immediate symptoms of anxiety.
However, it may then be helpful to explore what is driving your anxiety to understand and process it better.
If you would like to discuss your concerns around your anxiety, please call or text on the number below or use the contact form to get in touch.