Anxiety is a general term for several disorders that cause nervousness, fear, apprehension and worrying.
These disorders affect how we feel and behave. They can manifest real physical symptoms. Mild anxiety is vague and unsettling, while severe anxiety can be extremely debilitating and have a serious impact on daily life.
People often experience a general state of worry or fear before confronting something challenging such as an examination, public speaking, social event or interview. These feelings are easily justified and considered 'normal'.
Anxiety is considered a problem when symptoms interfere with a person's ability to sleep or otherwise function.
Generally speaking, anxiety occurs when a reaction is out of proportion with what might be normally expected in a situation.
The symptoms of anxiety conditions are sometimes not all that obvious, as they often develop slowly over time. Given we all experience some anxiety at various points in our lives, it can be hard to know how much is too much.
Normal anxiety tends to be limited in duration and connected with some stressful situation or event, such as a job interview.
The type of anxiety experienced by people with an anxiety condition is more frequent or persistent, not always connected to an obvious challenge and impacts on their quality of life and day-to-day functioning.
While each anxiety condition has its own unique features, there are some common symptoms including:
Physical: panic attacks, hot and cold flushes, racing heart, tightening of the chest, quick breathing, restlessness, or feeling tense, wound up and edgy.
Psychological: excessive fear, worry, catastrophising or obsessive thinking.
Behavioural: avoidance of situations that make you feel anxious which can impact on study, work or social life.
There are six major types of anxiety disorders, each with their own distinct symptom profile:
Generalised anxiety disorder
Anxiety attacks (panic disorder)
Social anxiety disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder
CBT can help you to understand how some of your 'habits of thinking' can make anxiety worse, or even cause it. I can help you to come to terms with reasons for your anxieties that you may not have recognised yourself.