Anxiety is an overwhelming feeling of unease characterised by fears and worries that range from mild to severe. This unease is our body’s natural response to stress and danger.
For some, anxiety is a temporary feeling that comes and goes. For others, anxiety is constantly present or severe, leading to an impairment in living their life in full.
Common Areas of Anxiety
- Fear of failure
- Fear of social judgement – social places
- Performance/ work outcomes
- Financial worries
- Fear of dying
- Panic attacks
When Professional Help is Required
You may need to seek professional help if the symptoms listed below persist, or prevents you from going about your day-to-day activities (e.g. work, meeting friends, grocery shopping).
- Trouble sleeping
- Difficulty letting go of worries
- Constant rumination on certain thoughts that effect quality of life
- Fatigue due to worrying
- Constant tension and edginess
- Feeling constantly in a state of panic
- Mind is always on the go
- Not able to experience and enjoy the present moment
- Intense burst of sensation which causes fear of death
The Common Types of Anxiety
- Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) – is the tendency to be in constant worry to a point where there is belief that things can’t be okay. The worry is usually around the major domains of life such as work, finances, health, relationships, and future.
While everyone worries about the major domains in life occasionally, living life always expecting the worst before they happen can be unsatisfying. GAD is often accompanied with depression. GAD is diagnosed when worrying happens most days and for at least six months.
- Social Anxiety – is more focused on an individual’s fear of negative evaluation by others.
This fear can inhibit the ability to form meaningful relationships and pursue interests in society such as building a career, attending university, getting involved in sports or social circles, and making new connections.
- Panic Disorder – involves intense episodes of fear, also known as panic attacks. They can strike seemingly out of the blue, or they may occur with incapacitating frequency. Panic attacks can last up to an hour and place the sufferer in a cycle that inhibits their ability to live their daily life.
- Phobias – are extreme fear around a specific stimulus, such as heights, spiders, germs, etc. Sudden exposure to the stimulus can result in anxiety that mirrors a panic attack.
Treatments for Anxiety (not including medication)
Effective, evidence-based therapies for anxiety include:
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
A range of structured approaches prioritises managing and overcoming current issues over exploring root causes. Research suggests that when people feel distressed or worried, we often fall into patterns of thinking and response which can exacerbate unwanted feelings. CBT is an evidence-based approach which helps people identify and adjust harmful or unhelpful patterns of thought and action. More functional patterns of thinking and action are trialed and developed over the course of therapy.
- Behavioural Therapy
This approach aids adjusting response and action patterns developed from past experiences which may hinder wellbeing. This is unlike other anxiety therapies that emphasize developing insight and understanding. A range of techniques are used to demonstrate healthier patterns of action, oversee successful implementation of adjusted behaviours, prevent the reinforcement of unhelpful actions, and help confront problems in small, manageable steps to help with the management of the symptoms of anxiety.
- Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
ACT is a new wave approach that aims to help people make meaningful changes to their life even in the presence of unwanted emotions, thoughts, and physical sensations. Various techniques are used to improve “psychological flexibility”. With increased psychological flexibility, less energy is spent on things not within our control and more is spent focusing on practical actions that contribute to wellbeing.
- Somatic (Body-based) Therapy
An anxiety therapy that focuses on body-based exercises to relieve the physical symptoms associated with trauma and other emotional health issues, and to improve the mind-body connection.
- Schema Therapy
This therapy focuses on the identification and treatment of deep-rooted and self-defeating patterns, called “schemas”, that typically develop when a person’s core emotional needs are not met. These patterns are seen as root causes of psychological and emotional issues. By targeting unhelpful schemas, it offers a way for individuals to break unhelpful patterns of thinking and response to their struggles whilst developing healthier alternatives.
- Interpersonal Therapy (IPT)
The emphasis of IPT is improving communication and building relationships, which can help people understand how they are seen, and how they impact others. This creates the basis for a more positive and balanced state of mental health. By exploring the patterns and experiences in relationships, an individual can devise effective ways to resolve the difficulties causing them mental distress.
- Skills Training for Assertiveness, Social skills, and Communication
Various training methods to help people improve their ability to get along with others and feel more confident in putting forth their interests, as these attributes may not have had an opportunity to grow if anxiety has been present from early age.
Biinu provides a comfortable and understanding space to express your experience to a registered anxiety psychologist, or via online sessions.
For further questions on therapy for anxiety or anxiety help in Sydney, please send them through via our Contact Us form or call us directly on (02) 7252 2860.