Do you suffer with racing thoughts that you can’t seem to free yourself from?
Does your body constantly feel tense and like it’s impossible to relax?
These are just two of the many signs of anxiety, which also include feeling worried, irritable or afraid that the worst case scenario will happen.
Anxiety can come and go and may be in response to specific situations. It may also be a constant background feeling that ebbs and flows throughout your day that you can never seem to escape. Physical symptoms include a pounding heart, sweating, restlessness, exhaustion, an off stomach or gut, nausea, and headaches.
If you suspect you may be suffering with anxiety, take the quiz.
Types of Anxiety
There are several different types of anxiety disorders that affect people in different ways and to varying degrees of severity. The most common types seen in counselling are Generalized anxiety (GAD), social anxiety, and panic disorder.
People with GAD experience persistent and exaggerated worries about everyday activities that can interfere with their everyday lives. Symptoms of GAD can include difficulty sleeping, concentrating, exhaustion, irritability, mood swings, and physical symptoms like dizziness, tightness in the chest, and muscle tension.
Another type of anxiety disorder is Social Anxiety Disorder, which is when people experience intense fear and self-consciousness in social situations. People with this type of disorder may fear embarrassing themselves or being judged by others. They may also have difficulty forming or maintaining relationships due to this fear. Physical symptoms of this disorder include difficulty speaking, difficulty swallowing, tense muscles, trembling, racing heart, and sweating.
Finally, Panic Disorder is characterized by feelings of intense fear or terror that can occur without any warning. People with this disorder may feel like they are losing control, having a heart attack, or dying. Physical symptoms include chest pain, sweating, dizziness, trembling, heart palpitations, and shortness of breath.
Why Anxiety Occurs
There are various thoughts around the causes of anxiety. Common factors point to the following:
- Childhood trauma (physical or sexual abuse, a traumatic incident, neglect, attachment trauma)
- Life stressors (divorce, job loss, grief, work stress)
- Medication side effects
- Substance use
- Genetic disposition (history of anxiety in the family)
- Personality type
- Other mental illness
You may be able to identify with a couple of these causes, for example life stressors as well as a history of anxiety in the family.
How Counselling Helps
Anxiety can be an incredibly debilitating condition, and it can be difficult to manage it on your own. If you’re struggling with anxiety, counselling can be a great way to help you to understand it better, and to develop strategies to cope.
There are several counselling approaches that can be effective in reducing symptoms. The approach depends on the root causes of your anxiety and the type of anxiety you are suffering from. For example, if your anxiety is trauma based, we will work first with healing that trauma through a modality such as EMDR or IFS. If the anxiety is rooted more in life circumstances we will talk through possible changes you may be able to make to ease the worry you are having about these events or situations. Your counsellor will likely also look at your thoughts and beliefs and help you to reframe them using Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).
To set up a consultation to see if anxiety counselling is right for you, book a consultation with one of our experienced counsellors.