As a counsellor and therapist I believe there is a difference between fear and anxiety, fear often has a target for its worry such as being afraid of spiders, or a car crash or thunderstorms, whereas anxiety doesnt always have a target. This can feel very upsetting as it can leave the suffer not understanding why they feel worried and anxious.

Anxiety can manifest itself in different ways, some psychological and others physical. Some people may feel they suffer with all of some of the symptoms which include:

 

Anxiety is a normal and natural response to situations that are stressful or worrying. Anxiety can often be a very useful response as it can get our mind and body ready for situations that are unknown. Anxiety can put the body into fight or flight which enables the release of chemicals that prepare us to face something that could be difficult or dangerous. This is when anxiety can be really useful and an anxiety response is appropriate to the threat. Situations such as commencing a new school or a new job, coping and dealing with a relationship that has broken down can also cause us anxiety which again can be normal.

​For many people, unfortunately, the severity and nature of the anxiety response may be out of proportion to the situation it is preparing them for and for some there can be no obvious reason for the anxiety. This is where anxiety can become extremely debilitating and take control of someone's life. Often I find that people who have struggled with anxiety for a long period of time also become depressed due to the fact that their world starts to shrink as they become more anxious and frightened to do things that they used to do, meaning they are taking less pleasure in the world.  This is one of the reasons why it is often seen that someone may have a mixed diagnosis of anxiety and depression.

Physical Symptoms

  • Rapid beating heart

  • Blushing or redness of the skin

  • Increased sweating

  • Dry mouth

  • Chest pains and / or tightness of chest

  • Dizzy sensations

Psychological Symptoms

  • ​Feelings of loss of  control or panic

  • Lower self-esteem

  • Inability to sleep / sleeping too much or unhealthy sleep pattern

  • Feelings of increased anger

  • Feelings of being out of control

  • Lack of concentration

As mentioned above anxiety can often be associated with other psychiatric disorders such as depression, panic attacks and obsessive compulsive disorder. People may also find that they become addicted to methods of coping with the increased anxiety such as drinking too much, taking prolonged amounts of prescription medication etc. If someone has been suffering from anxiety for a significant period of time or the anxiety feelings appear to arise without due cause and reason or if the anxiety is interfering with your day to day life then it is a good idea to see someone to help you with the situation. I would recommend either speaking to counsellor or psychotherapist like myself or to your GP. If you would like more advice please feel free to call me in confidence on 01189 680 900.

Anxiety

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Dr Christian Buckland, Wokingham Psychology, Woosehill Medical Centre, Fernlea Drive, Wokingham, Berks, RG41 3DR