Anxiety is one of the most common emotional disorders. Anxiety disorders differ from normal feelings of nervousness to mild unease it can be much more extreme. According to Mind, the Mental Health Charity, Anxiety is what we feel when we are worried, tense or afraid – particularly about things that are about to happen, or which we think could happen in the future.
Untreated anxiety can push people into avoiding situations that trigger or worsen their symptoms. Sufferers may experience Depression, some may abuse alcohol and other drugs in an effort to gain relief from their symptoms. Job performance, school work, health and personal relationships can also suffer.
For people with anxiety, worry and fear are constant and overwhelming, it can be crippling. There are several recognised symptoms of anxiety disorders, including:
- Overwhelming feelings of panic and fear
- Uncontrollable obsessive thoughts
- Painful, intrusive memories
- Re-occurring nightmares
- Physical symptoms such as feeling sick, "butterflies" in your stomach, heart pounding, startling easily and muscle tension
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD): People with OCD are plagued by constant thoughts or fears that cause them to perform certain rituals or routines. The disturbing thoughts are called obsessions, and the rituals are called compulsions. An example is a person with an unreasonable fear of germs who constantly washes his or her hands.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): PTSD is a condition that can develop following a traumatic and/or terrifying event, such as a sexual or physical assault, the unexpected death of a loved one, or a natural disaster. People with PTSD often have lasting and frightening thoughts and memories of the event and tend to be emotionally numb.
- Social anxiety disorder: Also called social phobia, social anxiety disorder involves overwhelming worry and self-consciousness about everyday social situations. The worry often centres on a fear of being judged by others or behaving in a way that might cause embarrassment or lead to ridicule.
- Specific phobias: A specific phobia is an intense fear of a specific object or situation, such as snakes, heights, or flying. The level of fear usually is inappropriate to the situation and may cause the person to avoid common, everyday situations.
- Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD): This disorder involves excessive, unrealistic worry and tension, even if there is little or nothing to provoke the anxiety.
- Panic disorder: People with this condition have feelings of terror that strike suddenly and repeatedly with no warning.
A common type of anxiety disorder is a panic disorder. The core symptom of panic disorder is commonly known as a panic attack. This is an overwhelming combination of physical and psychological distress. Experiencing a panic attack is said to be one of the most intensely frightening, upsetting and uncomfortable experiences of a person's life.
During a Panic attack several of these symptoms occur in combination:
- Pounding heart or chest pain
- Sweating, trembling, shaking
- Shortness of breath, sensation of choking
- Nausea or abdominal pain
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Feeling unreal or disconnected
- Fear of losing control, "going crazy," or dying
- Chills or hot flashes
Because symptoms are so severe, many people with panic disorder believe they are having a heart attack or other life-threatening illness.
Relief from Anxiety
You may believe that being free of anxiety is a wonderful idea that's just too good to be true. Whether you've lived a lifetime feeling anxious and scared or you have sudden panic attacks, the thought of being free of anxiety is like a dream that's dangling in front of you, but always just out of your reach.
Getting relief from your anxiety will take some time and effort on your part. You will have to do some soul searching and some house cleaning with the negative experiences of your life. Anxiety is an underlying fear of the future, a state of worry, a feeling of being vulnerable, out of control and expecting the future to be like the past.
When you resolve your emotional pain about the past, you will be able to take back your personal power, make the changes in your life, that will allow it to be more of what you want it to be. You will discover a new sense of yourself that will excite and amaze you. It often it feels like being a whole new person!
Counselling and Psychotherapy is a very effective means of support for anxiety disorders. A Counsellor can help you to identify what is a real threat in your life and way of thinking and what isn't. Counselling will allow you to discover that the situations/problems in your life may not be the major cause of your anxiety, instead, it can often be how you react to those problems that is the bigger issue.
Counselling can help you regain control, this will assist you with managing your reactions, thus reducing anxious feelings. You will be able to control your fear, instead of your fear controlling you. When you work on releasing your anxiety issues, you will discover that you do have the power to make your life what you want it to be!