Are you looking for anxiety therapists near to you? This article will explain more about what anxiety is. We will look at some different forms of therapy which therapists nearby may be offering.
What is anxiety?
Anxiety is a word which describes both feelings and physical sensations connected with feeling uneasy, worrying or sensing fear about a situation. Often anxiety can be thoughts and feelings about events or situations that haven’t happened yet, since anxiety normally refers to the future.
You may have heard of the ‘fight or flight’ response. This also includes ‘freeze’, when you feel paralysed or unable to make a decision, unable to move forward. This response is a normal bodily reaction to feeling fearful or threatened. It is often viewed as a very early or prime response of the human system to threats to our survival. It’s completely normal to feel anxious or nervous at some time and it’s normal to feel stressful or tense feelings about situations. That might be a new job, an exam, confronting somebody about something, meeting new people, moving house, divorce and so on.
How we get affected by anxiety is completely subjective and different for everybody. It’s completely normal to have some anxiety, but if you feel that you’re feeling very anxious, that your anxiety is stronger than is appropriate for the situation at hand, it may be worth seeking help. An anxiety therapist may be able to help you.
And this article we will explore more some common anxiety symptoms and look at some common anxiety or mental health conditions.
How does anxiety come about?
Anxiety often involves imagining things to be worse than they really are in reality. We can catastrophize or exaggerate our concerns about what might be the ramifications of a situation. Stress, on the other hand, is normally a very immediate feeling of pressure due to immediate circumstances. Anxiety is normally predicting what may or may not happen in the future and then feeling a high level of anxiety or concern or fear.
Anxiety can be like an internal alarm system
Anxiety can be like an internal alarm system. Raising the alarm that there’s something we should be concerned about. Our system is trying to protect us from danger or trouble. It can be that feeling of butterflies in the stomach or a racing heartbeat. In primitive or olden times that fight or flight response was very important. If you think back to thousands of years ago, human beings lived actually according to their fears. With little physical protection and without the institutions of society to protect us, such as the police or court system, it was really true that people had to often live by their fears to protect their livelihoods, food and families. However, today that part of the human system has remained despite the fact that our civilization and society has progressed. This means that we can sometimes have that same fight or flight response and that’s even to things which, rationally, are not as dangerous or life threatening as our fears may suggest.
An anxiety therapist can support you to feel calm again
Often when you have high levels of anxiety, it can take some time for the system to calm. This may take more than a few days. This can be comparable to how a country or a battleship might be on high alert during a war. It may take a bit of time for your system, when on high alert, to calm and realize that the danger has passed. Anxiety therapists will have relaxation tools you can use as well as helping you lower the overall stress levels you are experiencing.
Common anxiety symptoms
Of course, feeling anxious is a natural response. We all feel stress at different times. It is when those feelings of anxiety have lasted for a while, for example six months, that you may need to look into searching for the support of an anxiety therapist. If you have felt anxious for a few months, it may be considered to be am anxiety condition.
Here are some common anxiety symptoms.
rapid or irregular heartbeat,
lack of concentration,
panic attacks or anxiety attacks.
You might compare anxiety to filling a bucket of water. In the same way that, as you slowly add each drop to the bucket, eventually it will overflow. It is also true of anxiety that slowly as stress mounts, those anxieties add up after a while. Then, almost out of the blue, we can feel overwhelmed and that life is a too much.
For example, you might experience a traumatic event, be that bereavement, an accident, moving house, losing your job or divorce, and you may feel that you’re coping well. It doesn’t take many more stressful things to then feel that your bucket is filling up and soon it feels like it’s overflowing. It’s now too much to cope with.
Anxiety therapists can help with Anxiety disorders
There are a number of types of anxiety disorder which we will list now. However, please note that this article should not be considered as medical advice. If you are concerned about your health, it’s important that you seek professional advice from a trained health professional.
Generalized anxiety disorder
If you frequently have anxious or fearful thoughts but are not anxious about something specific, it’s possible that you may have a generalized anxiety disorder. This can be related to everyday tasks including stress at home or work as well. Sometimes you may not really know clearly what you’re feeling anxious about.
If you’ve experienced seemingly unpredictable anxiety attacks or panic attacks without being able to really identify the cause, it’s possible that you may have a panic disorder. Symptoms of a panic attack can be shortness of breath, feeling faint, trembling, or sweating. It’s common that people mistake a panic attack for having a heart attack or a serious immediate medical condition. I’ve in fact heard of people going to A&E to seek medical advice. However, it’s also true that nobody has ever died of a panic attack. It cannot harm you in that way, despite how real those anxiety feelings are. It is simply sensations and feelings of anxiety in the body. An anxiety therapist will help you reduce these feelings.
Post traumatic stress disorder, PTSD
Following a traumatic experience or witnessing something traumatic, you may have flashbacks or nightmares. Events that happen to us might not always immediately affect us. It can be common that traumatic experiences can remain dormant and then begin to bubble up after a number of weeks or months. Traumatic childhood events may take even a few years before they really get felt or are processed. Have you noticed that you are reliving fears or anxieties over and over again? Maybe you simply have a feeling of anxiety that feels connected to an accident or life event. PTSD can also include feeling nervous or anxious when thinking about anything traumatic, something that you may have experienced in recent years. It can be common that a sufferer of post traumatic stress disorder may also experience phobias.
A phobia is really an intense fear or anxiety about something, be that a place, event, or even a substance or person. Often what you have a phobia about may not really even be linked to the cause of your anxiety. This is since anxiety can easily latch on to things that feel similar. For example, somebody may have a phobia of flying in an airplane. This might be very logical since during a previous flight there may have been strong turbulence and some fearful thoughts around that flight. However, now they notice that they also have a phobia or fear when in a similar situation be that on a train or another moving object. In other words, the mind connects these two together. Since there’s a concern for your safety in one situation, the mind may jump to a conclusion that your safety may be a concern in this other situation too.
Often a phobia is about something which, on a rational level, actually may be worth considering that you might be concerned about. For example, having a fear of heights rationally does make sense. Since there is a potential danger of falling or danger, when you are high up. People also have phobias about all sorts of things such as clowns, open spaces or meeting new people. If a phobia is inhibiting your life in any way and stopping you living your life to the full, it may be time to get it sorted out. You might notice that a phobia is worse if your general levels of anxiety are high. Often a phobia will simply go away if you lower your overall levels of anxiety. Many anxiety therapists will start by looking at your anxiety levels now before working on the cause in the past. Here is a short video which explains how I help people reduce phobias.
A common phobia is social anxiety. This might be the fear of meeting new people or the fear of being in a crowded place or a social occasion. Often with an anxiety therapist, you might think through the causes and reasons for this phobia. It might have to do with feeling self conscious or having self critical thoughts such as comparing yourself unfavourably to other people. This can include viewing yourself as not as interesting or important compared to others.
Obsessive compulsive disorder, OCD.
OCD comprises of thoughts but also compulsive actions. Often thoughts can be about things or places. There can be reoccurring urges and thoughts or images that will make a person feel anxious. Compulsive actions will then be engaged in. These behaviours or actions are intended to bring a sense of personal security or safety because of those obsessive thoughts. Sometimes obsessive compulsive disorder can have its roots in childhood or traumatic experiences. Therapists who specialise in OCD will look at how your thoughts and behaviours work and help you reduce compulsive behaviour and feel more in control of thoughts too. If you feel that you are suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder, it’s important to seek appropriate help. Here is a brief video explaining more about OCD.
Health anxiety is a condition which may be linked to OCD or a phobia. Sometimes those affected with a health anxiety will experience a lot of thoughts about whether they have a physical illness.
Eco anxiety is a relatively new phrase or term. It refers to a high anxiety or concern about climate change and the health and wellbeing of the planet. For some, this might be a general feeling and may be linked to anxiety or depression. These fears also can be increased by media reports. Though it’s important to be concerned about the environment and climate change, if you feel that your fears are getting in the way of your happiness or leading a balanced life, then it’s important to seek help from a qualified anxiety therapist.
Anxiety in children
Of course, children just like adults, have their own worries and concerns. Some children worry a lot if they feel that they are responsible for others. This can be parents who require care or siblings with illnesses. Children can feel responsible for divorce or the arguing of parents. Sometimes a child will have to deal with divorce or other difficult situations without the mature adult resources that they would have as older person. It can be harder to deal with these situations, so therefore a trained therapist for children is very important to seek.
When should you seek help for anxiety?
Anxiety might be something that you feel you can battle alone. However, it’s also true that anxiety can get worse if you feel more and more stresses in life. Occasionally people can be embarrassed or ashamed to ask for help. You might feel that it’s not the same as a physical illness and then somehow less important. However, mental illnesses and conditions are just as important.
Often, when at school we weren’t taught how to cope with anxiety and stress. An anxiety therapist will help you gain coping mechanisms as well as uncovering the deeper underlying causes of your anxiety. There are many treatment options available and in this article we will go on to discuss some of them.
Anxiety counselling involves talking to a trained counsellor. This can be helpful in many ways and they can help you also think about coping mechanisms and techniques. Together you will look to uncover and see what may be causing your anxiety. There are different types of talking therapy. A common one is cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).
Cognitive behavioural therapy
Anxiety therapists, who use cognitive behavioural therapy or CBT, will support you to overcome anxiety by managing your thoughts and feelings. Thoughts and feelings can lead to changes in behaviour. For example, if you have a phobia, you may have changed your routine or behaviour in order to avoid the cause of your anxiety. For example, someone with an anxiety when driving will be tempted to change their route to avoid roads which feel uncomfortable. With the help of CBT, cognitive behavioural therapy, you’ll learn to face your fears slowly, so that you do not change your life too much.
Mindfulness for anxiety
Mindfulness, which is based on Eastern or Buddhist thought, also has a lot to teach us about how to regulate our emotions and deal well with anxiety. You may find that Mindfulness meditation helps you separate and detach yourself from thoughts that are distressing. It also helps you to stay more in the present moment. Remember that anxiety is really about fears about the future. Mindfulness can therefore help you approach yourself in a calmer and more compassionate and nonjudgmental way. Mindfulness can help you gain clarity of thought, but also will help you gain important moments of relaxation during your day. It is also fairly straightforward to learn Mindfulness techniques. These are meditation tools that you can use and help you for the rest of your life.
Some helpful tips from anxiety therapists for managing anxiety
The most important thing that you can do is ensure that you know how to look after yourself and your wellbeing. Easy to learn tools and techniques can be very helpful for lowering anxiety and feeling calm and relaxed. Consider talking to somebody, perhaps talking to somebody who fully understands what you’re going through, such as a therapist or counsellor. This will mean that you can relieve the pressure that you feel and share your thoughts and feelings too. You may also gain advice on how to look after yourself and how to deal with anxious thoughts, phobias, or other mental health concerns.
Breathing, Mindfulness and other relaxation techniques can help you calm yourself in the moment. You may be able to learn breathing techniques that you can use should you ever have an anxiety attack or panic attack. Taking time to separate thoughts and feelings from the symptoms that you feel will also help you deal much better in the immediate future. Here is a helpful video with some breathing techniques that can help with anxiety.
Monitor your use caffeine and alcohol. Though it can be tempting to use alcohol as a way to relax and calm down, it can be unwise to use alcohol in this way. Caffeine too is unhelpful for stress. Both alcohol and caffeine do not help you with your anxiety or stress. In fact, they may exacerbate it. Alcohol can cause lower quality sleep. Therefore it’s really advisable to avoid using alcohol to deal with stress or anxiety. Sometimes it may be tempting to self medicate your anxiety using alcohol or caffeine. Both however will raise your blood pressure and cause you to feel a little bit agitated. Yes, you may feel more awake and find that you’re more alert. However being more alert in this way can mean that you will feel a little bit more stressed.
Consider massage or other complementary therapies. Taking up yoga, meditation, having a massage, exercise or other healthy relaxation can be very beneficial. Think about how you can incorporate healthy, good relaxation into your week.
What are some types of therapy that you can use for anxiety?
There are many anxiety therapists out there. You may be looking for an anxiety therapist near to you or conveniently located near your place of work. Here is a short guide to some types of therapy available for anxiety.
Counselling is a form of therapy in which you talk with a counsellor openly and honestly about how you feel. Through this process you can notice negative or unhelpful thoughts and work through what you’re struggling with. A counsellor will be trained to offer you a safe environment in which you are listened to, without judgment. Anxiety therapists who specialise in counselling can be very helpful, especially if you’re going through a number of difficult life events. Sessions will help you cope better and resolve different issues such as feeling guilty, angry, shame or general stress or anxiety. Often sessions are for 50 minutes to 60 minutes and you may find that six to 12 sessions may be helpful.
Cognitive behavioural therapy, CBT
This may be offered face to face or even by phone. CBT involves looking at your thoughts, feelings and behaviour patterns and working with ways to change them around for the better. You may discover that you are in cycles of unhelpful behaviour patterns and those are caused by thoughts and feelings that you have. If you have high levels of anxiety, you may wish to change how you act and that might be how you talk or how you act, where you go. A CBT therapist will often be very present focused rather than going back to childhood experiences. Though it can be true also that CBT therapists will look at earlier traumatic memories that may have contributed to your anxiety. CBT is considered to be very practical and your therapist will set you useful and helpful exercises to do between sessions that might include journaling or slowly exposing yourself to the things that you are anxious about. Through different behavioural experiments, you will learn new strategies that will help you live better day to day. CBT anxiety sessions are between 50 to 60 minutes long and it’s normal to have a course of to 12 or 16 sessions.
Anxiety therapists who use hypnotherapy will normally do so face to face. Clinical hypnotherapy involves using hypnosis to reduce your physical and emotional symptoms of anxiety. I myself use clinical hypnotherapy to help people with anxiety here in London. Hypnosis helps you reach further into your subconscious mind and patterns. You will look at how anxiety is affecting your levels of stress now, but also may involve going into the deeper causes such as trauma or difficult experiences.
Hypnosis can help you look at your memories and drives in a way that can be very relaxing and calming in the safety and security of the consulting room. Your anxiety therapist will guide you to remember memories or change drives, thoughts and emotions. Often clinical hypnotherapy may be useful in a more short term intervention and as a supplementary therapy for longer term work. Clinical hypnotherapy anxiety therapy sessions are normally 50 to 60 minutes and it’s normal to have four to 10 sessions. Similar to hypnotherapy may be certain mindfulness based approaches. Mindfulness and other similar meditation techniques can be useful.
Acupuncture for anxiety
Acupuncture is derived from ancient Chinese medicine. Acupuncture will use needles to stimulate certain sensory nerve areas of the body. In response to this stimulation, the body will release certain chemicals to counteract stress and tension. Acupuncture can be a helpful supplementary therapy to other treatments.
If you feel that you are overwhelmed by anxiety, refer to your GP will discuss with you certain medication options with you. Ensure that they discuss with you any side effects and also how long you may be taking the medication for.