What is Anxiety and how can Therapy help?

Anxiety is the fear of something real or imagined. It can present itself in many different ways, such as Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Phobias, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) etc.

These conditions are tied into the biological reactions that go back to prehistoric times, when we hunted and were hunted by wild animals. We had to react in a moment to the threat or perceived threat in front of us. Did we stop and fight for our lunch or run in order to protect ourselves? This is the so called fight or flight mechanism, that sits within us all and has deep rooted biological reactions at its core. But for those of us that don’t fear for our lives, we can still project this threat onto other situations that we find ourselves in, resulting in the innate anxiety reaction. For example in the case of a phobia, after a road traffic accident we may fear driving in a car again both as a passenger or as the driver.

Our minds can also create ‘ what if threats ‘ say, you feel stressed whilst in the supermarket. You want to get out in a hurry. But it takes longer than usual or at least it might seem to. Your heart starts to palpitate and you struggle to breathe properly, your head becomes light and you feel like you are going to faint. What was usually a perfectly normal event, went passed simple stress and resulted in a full blown panic attack. Following the situation you think ‘ what if I fainted in there, I’d fall on the floor all the people would crowd round me and I’d feel such a fool, I couldn’t cope ‘. In your mind you have now created the worst possible situation, which in turn can make it more likely that the situation may reoccur again.

CBT and counselling can help you to understand your triggers. How thoughts from these triggers can lead to extreme emotions, generating equally extreme bodily reactions and behaviors.

The National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE), recommends CBT for the treatment of Anxiety. Feel free to contact me to discuss further or to make an appointment.

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