There are some clear distinctions between anxiety and stress, and on this page I will tell you about the different types of anxiety and how I can work with you to treat them. The first thing we will look at is the question 'What is anxiety?'
Anxiety is a normal, if unpleasant, part of life, and it can affect us all in different ways and at different times. Whereas stress is something that will come and go as the external factor causing it comes and goes, anxiety is something that can persist whether or not the cause is clear to the sufferer.
Anxiety can make you imagine that things in your life are worse than they really are and may also prevent you from confronting your fears. You may think you are going mad, or that some psychological imbalance is at the heart of your feelings.
What is important is the recognition that anxiety is normal and exists due to a set of bodily functions that have existed in us from our 'caveman days'. Back then, we were equipped with an internal alarm system designed to protect us from the dangers surrounding us in the wild. This system would make us hyper-alert by giving us a boost of adrenaline that would increase the heart rate and boost the amount of oxygen going to our limbs so we were better able to fight or run from danger.
Many people associate the feeling of having 'butterflies in the stomach' with feeling anxious and this is the 'caveman' instinct, but instead of existing to warn you of impending danger, it is often wrongly activated during normal situations; we will look at the different types of anxiety and how you and I can work together so that you can overcome these feelings.
‘Anxiety disorders’ is a collective term for the range of issues I treat. It’s important to know that there are no ‘off the shelf’ packages. Each client has specific and unique issues and your sessions are tailored around YOU and you only.
Symptoms of Anxiety
You may experience physical, psychological and behavioral symptoms as a result of anxiety and some of the most common physical symptons include:
- Increased heart rate / heart palpitations
- Increased muscle tension
- Tingling in the hands & feet
- 'Jelly legs'
- Difficulty with breathing
- Hyperventilation (over breathing)
- Feeling sick
- Tight 'band' across the chest area
- Hot flushes
- Increased perspiration
- Tension headaches
- Dry mouth
- Feeling 'shakey' or shaking hands
Some of the most common Psychological symptoms (i.e. your thoughts or altered perceptions) may include:
- A feeling of losing control or thinking you may lose control
- Thoughts or feelings that you are going 'mad'
- Feelings that you want to run away or escape
- Feeling on edge and being alert to everything around you
- Feelings of detachment from your environment & people in it
One of the most common behavioural symptom that we experience when we are anxions is avoidance.
Avoidance is a short term solution although you may feel that by avoiding an anxiety provoking solutions provides you with immediate relief, the anxiety often returns the next time you face the situation and psychologically it will reinforce the message that it is dangerous and you will never get to find out whether your fear about it is true.
General Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
Put simply, GAD is essentially worrying about worrying. If you feel anxious about a whole range of issues rather than a specific issue or event, the likely diagnosis is GAD. For most people, their anxiety is far greater than the situation warrants and it comes with physical symptoms including trouble sleeping and the associated fatigue, headaches, muscle cramps, nausea and shortness of breath.
Social anxiety is far more common than we might think and most of us have suffered from social anxiety in one form or another during our lives. It manifests itself as a fear of rejection or being judged or embarrassed in front of other people. It leads to avoidance behaviour and can have a disruptive, negative effect on how you live your life, including but not exclusively:
- Meeting new people
- Giving presentations
- Speaking to authority figures
- Eating out
A panic attack is a sudden feeling of intense fear, apprehension and anxiety whereby the individual often feels like they are having heart attack-type symptoms. It’s important to note here that while panic attacks can be both frightening and disruptive to everyday life, they are not dangerous and with treatment, I can free you from their shackles.
How I Treat Anxiety
At Chris Barton Coaching, I use a skills-based model for treating anxiety. During our sessions, I will teach you relaxation techniques and helpful ways in which you can fundamentally, positively and permanently change the way you behave, think and act. It’s also important to note here that you can’t be stressed or suffer from anxiety when you are in a relaxed state. The skills you’ll learn during your time with me will be vital to both your on-going treatment and perhaps more so as you leave my care.
A combination of Applied Relaxation and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is considered by the British Medical Journal to be one of the most effective therapies to alleviate anxiety and put you on a path to having a positive mind-set and being able to live life to the fullest, free of worries. By combining both and adding in the element of hypnosis, I believe this is the most effective, pragmatic and relevant approach to the treatment of anxiety.