Feelings of anxiety are common in response to a range of stressors in life, whether it be at home, at work, when under intense pressure or as a result of issues within our relationships.
Everybody experiences anxiety in response to the challenges that life throws us.
Some people describe constant worries about the little things, others notice their breathing gets faster and shallower when panicked, others describe butterflies before an important presentation.
Anxiety is a useful emotion, it can drive us to achieve our best and to complete tasks and is designed to function as a way of protecting us from danger.
When anxiety is no longer helpful
Although we may all experience feelings of stress on a daily basis, people suffering from anxiety usually experience more intense feelings that may not subside for a long time in the form of physical sensations, behavioural changes and worrying thoughts.
If this persists and is regular, anxiety is capable of having a significant effect on daily functioning, affecting mood, resulting in patterns of avoidance of daily tasks and particular environments where threat is perceived and often resulting in feelings of isolation and depression.
The different shades of anxiety
Anxiety may take many forms depending on the person, their own family history, their relationships and life experiences. The major types of anxiety we see are the following:
- Social anxiety – The fear of social or performance situations
- Panic Disorder – The person experiences a feeling of intense fear and dread that often feels out of the blue and experiences a range of intense physical symptoms such as rapid breathing, sweating, chest pain, feeling faint as well as changes in their thinking and behaviour.
- Specific phobia – An extreme fear of an object e.g. lifts, spiders or particular situations (parties, business meetings, job interviews, presentations)
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – The re experiencing of anxiety in the form of numbness, flashbacks, ruminations, anger, irritability following a traumatic event such as rape, assault, a car accident, bushfire.
- Generalised Anxiety Disorder – the tendency to experience extreme worry about daily life events and situations that are out of proportion to the nature of the situation. People often worry about the worst thing that could happen in every situation, finding it difficult to see the positive perspective.
Our psychologists are able to help you learn strategies to help you manage these feelings confidently, let go of unhelpful or obsessive thoughts and face situations that you have been avoiding because of anxiety.
We are trained in scientifically validated therapies that will allow you to gain insight into your own unique experience of anxiety, set goals for change and work on developing the insight and practical skills needed so that you get to live the life you want to live.