Anxiety is a natural emotional response to danger or the perceived threat of danger that all human beings experience at some point in their lives. It often presents when individuals have increased stress levels bought on by things such as public speaking, exams, relationship problems or job interviews. A little bit of anxiety as a general rule can benefit an individual in these situations as it heightens your senses, gives the body a surge of adrenaline and can help you think sharper and perform better. This is often called the “fight or flight” response. Anxiety, however, can become a problem when it begins to interfere with the normal day to day running of your life.

Anxiety  Disorders can be highly debilitating affecting both your mental and physical health which can result in problems at work, school, within relationships and everyday life. Anxiety is often characterized by an intense feeling of fear that can be accompanied by thoughts and mental images of perceived threat or in response to triggers from previous experiences.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics Survey indicates that nearly 10% of Adults experience symptoms consistent with anxiety disorder and the National Survey of mental health and Wellbeing found that Anxiety disorders were the most common form of mental health disorder in the population.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF ANXIETY

 Some common ways that anxiety can present itself include;

  • Constant feeling of worry about everyday goings on
  • feeling on edge, irritable and in a “bad mood” frequently
  • unable to cope with a change of routine, lifestyle or a sudden problem
  • feeling tense or “on edge “a majority of the time
  • difficulty concentrating
  • sleep problems
  • feeling like you have to avoid people or social situations
  • fear of embarrassing yourself
  • fatigue, chest pains, nausea, joint pain, neck aches
  • difficulty relaxing
  • having thoughts that are difficult to end or manage
  • diarrhoea, constipation, sweating, choking, dizziness, light headedness, muscle tightness, increased heart rate or palpitations and/or urinary frequency
  • constant concern about your health or the health of your family
  • being argumentative
  • using sedatives or alcohol to assist in managing stress or sleep
  • fear of reliving a terrifying past event
  • sexual problems
  • being negative and constantly identifying what can go wrong in any situation
  • fear of being hurt, death and/or going mad
  • presence of compulsive behaviours such as turning lights on and off, counting, washing hands or cleaning.
  • Fear of being infected by germs

DIFFERENT TYPES OF ANXIETY

 Anxiety can present itself in various forms. Some of the most common types of Anxiety include;

Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) – individual has displayed symptoms for at least 6 months that include anxiety on most days around everyday issues such as finances, health and family.

Acute Stress Disorder (ASD) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – A set of reactions, both long term and short term, that occur as a result of a traumatic experience.

Phobia – fearful about particular objects or situations that result in avoidance of those objects, animals or situations.

Agoraphobia – anxious about being in a situation that may result in a panic attack that will lead to inability to leave without embarrassment.

Panic Disorder – intense feeling of fear that is overwhelming and difficult to manage resulting in difficulty breathing, fear of dying, going mad or personal catastrophe.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – ongoing and intrusive thoughts that lead to ritualistic behaviours and obsession such as counting, cleaning and checking in order to decrease levels of anxiety.

TREATMENT OF ANXIETY

 Education and detailed information about the nature of Anxiety, the flight and fight response, the role of hyperventilation and the various ways in which Anxiety can present itself are vital first steps in the treatment of Anxiety in individuals.

Relaxation training such as breathing techniques, mindfulness and progressive muscular relaxation have all been seen as effective ways to reduce basic levels of anxiety or tension that an individual experiences.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can assist in identifying and defeating negative or destructive thought patterns – see CBT link.

Reduction of alcohol, caffeine and other stimulants.

Medication can be used in conjunction with CBT and is often used in severe cases of Anxiety where there are repeated episodes of panic or obsessional thinking and the above treatments have shown little response.

If you think you may need some support to manage your anxiety please contact Eliza today on 0417910911 to start your recovery journey.