Everything You Need To Know About Anxiety
Anxiety is a natural feeling of fear about what’s to come. Some feelings of anxiety are entirely normal. For example, when you start at a new job, attend an interview, or deliver a presentation, you might feel anxiety creep in. However, if this feeling persists, occurs suddenly with no real warning or triggers, and impacts your day-to-day life, you may be experiencing an anxiety disorder. Leon Skaliotis from Be Happy Again understands how debilitating chronic anxiety can be, and he provides support and counselling for anxiety to help people regain control of their thoughts and feelings. If you or someone you know is experiencing chronic anxiety, read on to learn how anxiety treatment in Melbourne can make a difference.
What Is Anxiety?
Anxiety is a natural stress response, and way, way back when humans were hunter-gathers, anxiety was useful for keeping us alive. It was the keen sense that told us to keep moving and to avoid predators. However, it’s not as valuable for us today in the 21st century, and chronic ongoing anxiety is often diagnosed as a disorder. Anxiety disorders are the most common form of emotional disorders, and they can affect anyone of any age. As with most mental health conditions, there are many different types of anxiety that present differently in each individual. Common types of anxiety disorder include;
- Panic disorder. This type of anxiety disorder causes individuals to experience recurrent panic attacks, leaving them in fear of their next panic attack.
- Phobias. A phobia is an excessive fear of specific objects, situations or activities, and often results in feelings of anxiety.
- Social anxiety disorder. This is an extreme fear of being judged by others in social situations.
- Separation anxiety. People who experience separation anxiety feel an extreme fear of being away from home or separated by loved ones.
- OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). Some individuals experience irrational thoughts that reoccur and lead them to perform specific repetitive behaviour.
- Illness anxiety disorder (also known as Hypochondria). This is when a person experiences constant anxiety surrounding their health.
- PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder). This is the term for anxiety that follows from a traumatic event.
- Generalised anxiety disorder. Anxiety that is difficult to categorise and has few recognisable triggers may be deemed as generalised.
Science has yet to find the precise cause of anxiety, but several factors may contribute to its development, such as;
- Traumatic events
- Genetic traits
- Medical conditions (e.g. heart disease, diabetes or chronic pain)
- Having other mental disorders
If you’d like to get a diagnosis, you need to visit a GP and undergo a mental health assessment. Your doctor may prescribe you medication and recommend you do some anxiety counselling.
What Are The Symptoms Of Anxiety?
Because there are so many types of anxiety disorders, each individual will exhibit different and varied symptoms. These symptoms can be as simple as unpleasant butterflies in the stomach to a complete loss of control and disassociation. Common symptoms of an anxiety disorder include;
- An increased heart rate
- Rapid breathing
- Trouble concentrating
- Experiencing difficulty falling asleep
- A general feeling of fear and worry
- Panic attacks
- Uncontrollable thoughts and memories
- Withdrawing from social situations
This list is by no means extensive, and you can’t diagnose yourself by ticking off your symptoms. If you believe you have anxiety, visit a GP or an anxiety therapist.
What Are The Negative Impacts Of Anxiety?
Anxiety can have a significant effect on your body and mind. If left untreated for too long, anxiety can wreak havoc on your physical health, causing the development of chronic physical conditions that may affect your social and work life. When you experience anxiety, your body releases adrenaline and cortisol, causing you to go into fight or flight response. Your body isn’t meant to produce these hormones too often, and chronic anxiety can result in physical effects such as;
- Breathing and respiratory changes. Hyperventilation is the body’s response to getting more oxygen to prepare to fight or flee, which can cause a person to become disoriented, faint, lightheaded, and weak.
- Cardiovascular system changes. Long-term anxiety can be unhealthy for the cardiovascular system and heart health. Some studies suggest that anxiety increases the risk of heart disease in healthy people.
- Immune system impairment. Short term anxiety can boost the immune system’s responses, but prolonged anxiety has the complete opposite effect. The constant release of cortisol can cause inflammation and turn off some parts of your immune system that fights infection. As a result, chronic anxiety can make you more susceptible to illnesses such as the common cold.
- Digestive functions. Cortisol blocks the processes that your body considers nonessential in a fight or flight situation, including digestion. In addition to cortisol, adrenaline also plays a part in reducing blood flow and relaxing stomach muscles. This is why a person with anxiety may experience nausea, diarrhea and a churning stomach.
Untreated anxiety can also lead to many other long-term health issues such as;
- Chronic pain
- Difficulties socialising
- A low sex drive
- Substance abuse
- Suicidal thoughts
How Can I Manage My Anxiety?
There are several medications and treatment options to help people manage their anxiety. As every person is different, their anxiety management plan needs to be individually designed by an anxiety therapist to ensure they’re receiving the best quality of care. Here are a few tips to help you better manage your anxiety.
- Being kind to yourself: The first thing you need to know and understand is that you are not your anxiety, nor does it define you. You have a mental health condition that is called anxiety. You are not weak, inferior, or damaged. Be Happy Again’s anxiety counselling in Melbourne is committed to reinforcing this ideology to clients and helping them to learn and apply proven strategies to get unstuck and move forward.
- Breathe. One of the first symptoms people notice during an anxiety attack is their fast and shallow breathing. Try to deliberately slow your breathing and focus on your breaths alone. You can learn breathing and mindfulness techniques in therapy for anxiety. You can practice these techniques every day to better manage your anxiety.
- Be present in the moment. Anxiety is a disorder of time. Your mind becomes worried about a future in which terrible things may happen, leading to all the awful symptoms of anxiety. So when you’re in the midst of an attack, you need to focus your mind on the present moment and recenter yourself.
- A healthy lifestyle. Diet, exercise, and plenty of sleep play a huge role in reducing a person’s anxiety. Try to eat healthily, exercise regularly, drink lots of water, spend time outside, and socialise.
- Organise to speak with an anxiety counsellor. Counselling for anxiety can help you figure out what triggers your anxiety and gives you the tools and skills to manage it better.
What Does Counselling For Anxiety Entail?
Anxiety counselling works in different ways for each person and anxiety disorder. At Be Happy Again, your anxiety therapy is tailored to you specifically so the most comprehensive support can be provided. Be Happy Again’s Leon Skaliotis works to provide solutions-focused anxiety therapy that gives people the skills to manage their condition day to day, as a pathway to full recovery. Counselling for anxiety can include;
- Learning about anxiety. Overcoming anxiety means that you need to understand it. This is where education comes in. You’ll gain a deeper understanding of your anxiety so you can adopt better strategies to treat it.
- Have your story heard. Leon is passionate about listening to his clients and providing tailored strategies for handling anxiety. He encourages his clients to open up, and as someone who has survived anxiety and depression himself, Leon is in a unique position to understand his clients’ struggles on a deeper level.
- Learning the skills to manage anxiety. Leon will teach you practices based on proven scientific research to help you manage and reduce your anxiety symptoms. Over time, you’ll be able to regain control over your thoughts and free yourself from the restrictions anxiety causes.
If You’re Seeking Counselling For Anxiety, Be Happy Again Can Help
Be Happy Again’s very own anxiety and depression treatment specialist, Leon Skaliotis, aims to help his clients free themselves from the pain of anxiety and depression so they can live rich, full, meaningful lives. He is an executive member of the International Institute for Complementary Therapists (IICT), accredited in behavioural therapy, positive psychology, mindfulness and life coaching. In addition to these qualifications, the many grateful reviews of his former clients are testament to Leon’s successful therapeutic approach acquired from many years of researching and applying the most effective treatment strategies. Leon has also struggled and fully recovered from his own anxiety and depression, giving him a genuine insight into the day-to-day struggles of his clients. If you’re looking for counselling for anxiety that allows you to take control of your mental health and make lifelong, empowering change, contact Leon at Be Happy Again today.