Anxiety and Anxiety Disorders
One of the most common reasons people come to my clinic is anxiety. Anxiety and Anxiety Disorders are characterised by a sense of doubt and vulnerability about future events.
There are a wide variety of anxiety disorders, including post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and specific phobias to name a few. Most people feel anxious from time to time. However, anxiety can become abnormal if it interferes with your day-to-day activities.
Anxiety is normal in stressful situations, and can even be helpful. For example, most people will be anxious when threatened by an aggressive person, or before an important race. Anxiety is abnormal if it is out of proportion to the stressful situation, persists when a stressful situation has gone or appears for no apparent reason when there is no stressful situation.
If you feel your anxiety is getting in the way of your life then it’s time to get some help. Give me a call and we’ll discuss your needs and get you into your calm future!
So what is Anxiety?
Anxiety is worrying about the future due to events of the past. It is common for the reasons to not consciously be known by the person.
The root cause of anxiety is in the subconscious mind. This is where our thoughts, feelings, memories, beliefs, hopes, dreams, nightmares are all stored and this is where anxiety is also allowed to live. So to deal with this effectively we need a therapy that can access the subconscious mind directly. At Mind Success I have a variety of techniques from different psychological interventions that can help you feel calm and in control again!
The subconscious is concerned, primarily, with protection. It wants to keep you safe, this is the role of anxiety, to produce an effect in the body so you keep away from that which your subconscious perceives to be dangerous. For example, walking into the sea when you can’t swim produces normal anxiety as your subconscious is detecting danger so the anxiety response is initiated!
When you feel anxious, your body goes on high alert, looking for possible danger and activating your fight or flight responses. As a result, some common symptoms of anxiety include:
- nervousness, restlessness, or being tense
- feelings of danger, panic, or dread
- rapid heart rate
- rapid breathing, or hyperventilation
- increased or heavy sweating
- trembling or muscle twitching
- weakness and lethargy
- difficulty focusing or thinking clearly about anything other than the thing you’re worried about
- digestive or gastrointestinal problems, such as gas, constipation, or diarrhoea
- a strong desire to avoid the things that trigger your anxiety
- obsessions about certain ideas, a sign of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- performing certain behaviours over and over again
- anxiety surrounding a particular life event or experience that has occurred in the past, especially indicative of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
A panic attack is a sudden onset of fear or distress that peaks in minutes and involves experiencing at least four of the following symptoms:
- shaking or trembling
- feeling shortness of breath or smothering
- sensation of choking
- chest pains or tightness
- nausea or gastrointestinal problems
- dizziness, light-headedness, or feeling faint
- feeling hot or cold
- numbness or tingling sensations (paresthesia)
- feeling detached from oneself or reality, known as depersonalization and derealization
- fear of “going crazy” or losing control
- fear of dying
Anxiety and panic attacks are your mind going crazy telling you to get out of there!
How is abnormal anxiety learnt?
- Something new has been detected which you have no experience of therefore your amygdala assumes the new situation/person/object potentially could be dangerous so alerts the fight or flight response.
- Something in your external or internal environment is triggering learnt behaviour of something similar in the past that was a threat to you or someone close to you and so the fight or flight response is activated so you’re not harmed again.
It’s not uncommon for young children to watch their mother scream at a spider and at that moment the child’s amygdala says “This spider thing must be dangerous if our mum is screaming, so therefore I will fire up whenever one is near!” So anxiety can be learnt indirectly too.
Many people experience abnormal anxiety where the anxiety response is out of proportion to the perceived threat. This can be a tremendous burden and very tiring for that person as they are in a state of constant hyper-vigilance which also has an effect on other bodily systems. When we’re anxious our brain shuts down non-essential systems to give all our energy to fight or flight which means the digestive, reproductive, metabolism, immune and skin are put on standby. The problem with this is chronic anxiety keeps the energy to these systems low so we get immune problems, digestive dysfunction (IBD/IBS), skin dermatitis, psychogenic infertility and much more.
I always advise to seek medical attention if suffering physical symptoms so a thorough investigation can take place to make sure nothing else is going on inside of you. If not, then we can start the process of relieving your anxiety so you can start to live again!
If your anxiety has reached a point where you now want to deal with it, then get in contact with me, I’ll be delighted to hear from you!