Anxiety is the perception of threat where the body reacts physically. Some symptoms may include heart palpitations, sweating, blurred vision and thoughts, butterflies or nausea in stomach, lump in your throat and / or change in breathing. These symptoms are real and often leads to panic attacks.
Anxiety is overwhelming and often feels like we are not coping. Anxiety can be genetic or a learnt reaction. Anxiety is real, and a significant condition that 1 in 3 Australians learn to live with. Anxiety is thoughts and feelings many experience following a specific incident like an accident, or traumatic event. However an anxiety disorder is when these symptoms interfere with your daily life and cause significant changes in your behaviour like avoiding social situations due to the fear of having an anxious episode.
There are many types of anxiety such as; Phobias, Generalised Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, amongst others. Anxiety often does not exist in isolation and may coexist and complicate other Mental Illnesses. It is important to recognise the triggers and specific incidents that contribute to your anxiety.
Anxiety affects 1 in 3 people. Some people are able to disguise their anxiety from people in their lives, however this is exhausting and debilitating. Anxiety affects self-confidence and has other ramifications in our life. Anxiety may also trigger past suppressed thoughts and relationships that may not be fulfilling at this present time. It is therefore important to also work with your emotions so you can recognise them quicker, increase your awareness and insight, giving you choices for looking after yourself better. Fortunately treatment is usually very effective, however ignoring the symptoms and delaying effective intervention can perpetuate the symptoms.
Awareness is the key to change or keep something the same. Recording symptoms helps increase awareness of having an anxiety attack earlier and can act as warning signs. Preventative and early interventions can lead to a more successful quality of living.
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapeutic treatment that helps one understand the thoughts and feelings that influence behaviours. During the course people learn how to identify and change unhelpful or destructive thought patterns that have a detrimental influence on their behaviour and lives. These principles are based on being realistic and independent in improving your quality of life.
Sometimes medication is helpful, working hand in hand with talk therapy. Medication should be assessed by a GP or psychiatrist and be monitored to ensure this medication reduces the symptoms to allow clearer thinking and increased motivation to work on anxious thoughts and feelings.
Exercise and hobbies are healthy choices rather than alcohol and other substance use that might reduce anxiety. This is based on the principles that a more active life reduces your cortisol (stress hormone) rather than isolated and inactive.
Anxiety deserves professional attention; this is where a counsellor can help.