What are anxiety problems?
Anxiety can be experienced in lots of different ways, and a certain level of anxiety is perfectly normal and part of the way we are built to react to stressful or dangerous situations. However anxiety can become a problem when this is experienced a lot of the time and when there is no real danger, and also when this starts to become more distressing and have an impact on day-to-day life.
Generalised Anxiety is the most common type of anxiety. This is typically experienced by excessively worrying about lots of different things a lot of the time, which can lead to various symptoms including poor sleep, feeling shaky or sweaty, and changes in normal behaviour, such as avoiding situations or not being able to solve daily problems.
Some people feel very anxious in social scenarios, like when talking in a group or speaking in public. They may worry how they are coming across, fear being embarrassed and becoming distressed by physical signs of anxiety, like blushing or sweating. This may then lead to avoiding social interactions which can be very debilitating with work, personal relationships and other areas of daily life.
Worrying about serious health problems is something that everyone can relate to. However when these worries happen a lot and are triggered by harmless and normal bodily sensations it can mean that people are constantly fearing the worst and seeking reassurance to feel better. Health anxiety can be very distressing and lead to unnecessary checking of physical symptoms that can be difficult to stop without learning ways to help.
Panic attacks are quite common; many people may experience at least one attack in their lifetime. When panic attacks happen frequently and start affecting the way you live your life, like running away from or avoiding certain places or situations, it becomes an issue.
Agoraphobia is not a fear of open spaces, as is the common belief, but actually the avoidance of specific places because of a fear of not being safe in those places or not being able to escape. This can turn into a real problem, as avoiding these places may have a significant impact on a person’s life.
Being frightened by a particular object, animal or situation is something that many people can relate to, for example needles, spiders, or heights. When this fear is experienced in an extreme way, such as by a host of uncontrollable and unpleasant physical symptoms, and is reacted to disproportionately in a way that has an impact on daily life, then it can be seen as a phobia.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
OCD is a type of anxiety that is characterised by what its name suggests; obsessive thoughts that come out of the blue and are very difficult to stop, such as about contamination, whether something has been done or not, or how something should be done, and behaving compulsively to try to feel better, such as by repeatedly cleaning or washing, excessively checking things or doing things in a certain order or number of times. OCD can be very distressing as it feels like a very difficult pattern of thinking and behaving to get out of, and can have an increasingly significant impact on daily life without the right help.
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
When a person goes through or witnesses something very emotionally distressing or physically traumatic, such as a road accident, an attack, a fire, or something relevant to their profession for example military combat, they can start to have difficult experiences afterwards. These might include having nightmares and flashbacks, feeling very on edge and tense, irritable and low mood, or even feeling numb. Over time, some of these experiences will fade naturally as the mind processes what happened and learns to cope with it. Sometimes, however, these symptoms persist for months or even years afterwards, and can have a huge impact on a person’s life through frequent reliving of the trauma and avoidance of situations that remind them of what happened.
PTSD is often linked to people who have served in the armed forces and the emergency services, but can be experienced by anyone who has been part of or witnessed a traumatic event.
What support is available for anxiety problems?
At Healthy Minds we offer a range of different support for anxiety problems. The support we offer you will be based on what would be most helpful and suitable, and will be tailored to meet your individual requirements.
Available support for generalised anxiety, social anxiety, health anxiety, panic disorder, agoraphobia, specific phobias and obsessive compulsive disorder include:
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
Computerised Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (cCBT)
Workshops/Courses (Intervention groups)
Support Time and Recovery Service (STaR)
Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR)
For more information about the support available, please click here.