Anxiety is a term which describes the feelings people experience when faced with threat or danger or when stressed. Often people will feel upset, uncomfortable or tense. Anxiety can sometimes be triggered by experiences such as job loss, relationship breakdown, illness, accidents or the death of someone close. In these situations, anxiety is usually experienced for a limited time.
An anxiety disorder is defined when anxiety is persistent, out of proportion to reality and significantly interferes with a person’s daily life. An anxiety disorder can be typically accompanied by intense uncontrollable worry, avoidance of real or perceived anxiety provoking situations and panic attacks.
Anxiety can be heredity, or as a result of an anxiety provoking event, or a combination of both.
Symptoms of Anxiety:
- Increased heart rate
- Difficulty breathing
- Increased muscle tension
- Dry mouth
- Change in appetite
If you think you are experiencing these symptoms, talking with a Psychologist can help in managing the symptoms of anxiety by providing useful strategies for when you are feeling anxious or having a panic attack. A commonly used treatment for anxiety is cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), focusing on thought processes and making behavioural changes. CBT is based on the understanding that thinking negatively is a habit, and, like any other bad habit, it can be modified. It helps people identify where their thoughts and actions are negative, and then to replace these “bad habits” with more helpful thoughts and responses.
CBT utilises both cognitive therapy and behaviour therapy. Cognitive therapy aims to identify and evaluate the unhelpful thoughts (or cognitions) that lead to negative feelings (e.g. depression, anxiety) and behaviours (e.g. avoiding friends). The treatment focuses on questioning thoughts and restructuring these with positive ways to think about difficult situations.
To view our team of Clinical Psychologist who specialise in the treatment of anxiety, visit the Brisbane Psychologists page here.