Some feeling of anxiety is a natural and necessary response which maximises our readiness and ability to adapt to a changing environment.  This is often referred to as the fight or flight response. This causes many physiological changes such as your heart beating faster, which gives us the best chance of coping with difficult times.

It is only when the changes to the body are inappropriate for the stressor/s or occurs in the absence of a stressor, such as with anticipatory anxiety, does anxiety itself become damaging to our health and well-being. This is when anxiety counselling can be helpful. An overly high level of anxiety can trigger:

A Cognitive Response
Which refers to thoughts about the situation and the person’s ability to cope with it. For someone experiencing high anxiety this often means interpreting situations negatively and having unhelpful thoughts such as “This is really bad” or “I can’t cope with this”.
A Behavioural Response
Which may include avoidance or uncharacteristic behaviour including aggression, restlessness or irrational behaviour such as repeated checking.
An Emotional Response
Reflecting the high level of distress the person is experiencing.

Depending on the symptoms, anxiety disorders may be classified into a variety of categories including:

Generalised Anxiety
Where people have recurring fears or worries, such as about health or finances, and they often have a persistent sense that something bad is just about to happen. The reason for the intense feelings of anxiety may be difficult to identify. But the fears and worries are very real and often keep individuals from concentrating on daily tasks
Panic Disorder
Involving sudden, intense and unprovoked feelings of terror or dread. People who suffer from this disorder generally develop strong fears about when and where their next panic attack will occur, and they often restrict their activities as a result.
Phobias
A related disorder involves Phobias, or intense fears, about certain objects or situations. Specific phobias may involve encountering certain things (for example snakes and spiders) or flying in aeroplanes, while social phobias involve fear of social settings or public places.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Is characterised by persistent, uncontrollable and unwanted feelings or thoughts (obsessions) and routines or rituals (compulsions) in which individuals engage, in order to prevent or rid themselves of these thoughts. Examples of common compulsions include washing hands or cleaning the house excessively for fear of germs, or checking work repeatedly for errors.
PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Occurs when a person is exposed to severe physical or emotional trauma such as from a natural disaster or serious accident. Thoughts, feelings and behavioural patterns become seriously affected by reminders of the event, sometimes months or even years after the traumatic experience.

Symptoms such as extreme fear, shortness of breath, racing heartbeat, insomnia, nausea, trembling and dizziness are common in these anxiety disorders. Although they may begin at any time, anxiety disorders often surface in adolescence or early adulthood. There is some evidence that anxiety disorders run in families; genes as well as early learning experiences within families seem to make some people more likely than others to experience these disorders.

The anxiety disorders differ considerably, so anxiety treatment should be tailored to the person’s specific symptoms and concerns. If an individual has an obsessive-compulsive disorder, their anxiety treatment will be different from that of someone who is receiving counselling for anxiety attacks. The length of therapy will also depend on the type and severity of the anxiety disorder. In most cases significant improvement can occur within 8 to 10 sessions.

Although medications can often be the first line of defence in the treatment of anxiety disorders, however, anxiety therapy (unlike anxiety medication) treats more than just the symptoms of the problem. Therapy for anxiety can help identify the underlying causes of the person’s worries and fears as well as empowering them with strategies to cope with future episodes.

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If you think that you or someone you know could benefit from anxiety counselling,  please give us a call on 07 3831 4452 or fill out an online enquiry. We provide anxiety counselling and anxiety treatment from our Brisbane office. Our receptionists (Suellen, Barbara, Jeanette, Sabrina and Marilyn) are very kind and friendly and are always keen to assist you with any questions you may have. We look forward to being of help!

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