Everyone has experienced feelings of anxiety in their life. Anxiety is often described as feelings of fear, worry, apprehension or mild to major nervousness. Anxiety is typically triggered by real things in our life that we perceive as challenges or possible problems.
Tests, speaking in public, changing jobs, moving to a new city, flying or going to a doctor or therapist for the first time are all real issues that cause most people some level of mild to moderate anxiety. However, once the event or activity has occurred and you have been successful in getting through it, the anxiety becomes less noticeable and eventually completely disappears.
When anxiety levels do not drop or when people become anxious, worried and stressed about things that not a reality in their life then anxiety becomes a debilitating mental state. People that are anxious and worry constantly about “what if” scenarios find they constantly imagine and dwell on worse and worse case scenarios, regardless of how far-fetched these events may actually be.
Anxiety can also result in extreme reactions and perceptions of threats that are unrealistic given the situation. Fear of the dark, fear of new people or places, or fear of change can result in reactions to any of these normal events in life in ways that are completely out of proportion for any possible risk.
There are a variety of different types of anxiety disorders. One of the commonly diagnosed is Generalised Anxiety Disorder or GAD. In this case individuals worry about everyday life events in ways that are blown out of proportion to what reality is. These individuals may not be able to pinpoint what they are anxious about, they are just constantly on edge, worried or fearful about their life falling apart.
Phobias are irrational fears about objects, events, activities or situations. The individual is very aware of what triggers this irrational fear but are unable to control their reaction without therapeutic interventions.
Panic disorder, which is sometimes called a panic attack, may occur because of a specific phobia or because of everyday activities that trigger an irrational response. The response is very intense and includes extreme physiological reactions to the source of the anxiety. People, over time, tend to find that panic triggers become more numerous and responses more extreme if not treated.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Separation Anxiety Disorder and Social Anxiety Disorder are also considered distinct types of anxiety disorders.
TREATMENTS FOR ANXIETY
There are several different options or combinations of treatments for anxiety disorders. These typically focus on psychotherapy and counselling to help learn coping skills and become desensitised to the specific cause of the anxiety. With careful, safe and individualised treatment the patient and therapist talk through both the anxiety and coping mechanisms.
Group sessions, medications and learning relaxation techniques are also important parts of many anxiety treatment plans. Many people with anxiety disorders find that hypnotherapy is a very effective way to help overcome negative and fearful thoughts and develop positive, healthy responses to anxiety triggers in their life.