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ANXIETY DISORDERS / PHOBIAS

Anxiety disorders are a group of mental health conditions characterized by persistent, excessive, and often irrational worry or fear. Anxiety disorders can affect a person's daily life and can interfere with their ability to function. There are several different types of anxiety disorders and I have given an overview of a few on this page.  If you think you may have an anxiety disorder, it is important to seek help from a mental health professional.

 

Social anxiety disorder, is a mental health condition characterized by an intense fear of social situations and being judged by others. People with social anxiety disorder may feel anxious in a wide range of social situations, such as public speaking, interacting with strangers, or even just making small talk. They may worry that they will be embarrassed, humiliated, or rejected by others, and this fear can interfere with their ability to participate in social activities and to form and maintain relationships.

 

Symptoms of social anxiety disorder can include:

 

  • Excessive fear of being judged by others

  • Avoiding social situations

  • Physical symptoms such as blushing, sweating, or trembling in social situations

  • Difficulty making eye contact or speaking in front of others

  • Difficulty forming and maintaining relationships

Health anxiety, also known as illness anxiety disorder or sometimes referred to as hypochondria, is a mental health condition characterized by excessive and persistent worry about having a serious illness, even when there is no medical evidence to support this worry. People with health anxiety may have a preoccupation with their health and may constantly check their body for signs of illness, such as lumps or changes in appearance. They may also seek reassurance from doctors or seek medical attention for minor symptoms or normal bodily functions.

Symptoms of health anxiety can include:

  • Excessive and persistent worry about having a serious illness

  • Frequently checking the body for signs of illness

  • Seeking reassurance from doctors or seeking medical attention for minor symptoms or normal bodily functions

  • Difficulty functioning normally due to worry about illness

 

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is a mental health condition characterized by persistent and excessive anxiety and worry about a variety of topics and situations, even when there is little or no reason to be concerned. People with GAD may find it difficult to control their worries, and they may experience physical symptoms such as tension, irritability, and difficulty sleeping as a result of their anxiety.

Symptoms of GAD can include:

  • Persistent and excessive anxiety and worry about a variety of topics and situations

  • Difficulty controlling worry

  • Restlessness or feeling on edge

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Difficulty sleeping

  • Physical symptoms such as muscle tension, headache, or stomach upset

 

Worry is a common human experience that involves thinking about and analysing potential problems or negative outcomes in the future. While a certain amount of worry can be normal and even helpful, excessive worry can interfere with daily life and can lead to physical and emotional distress.

 

Excessive worry can be a symptom of an anxiety disorder, such as generalized anxiety disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder. People with anxiety disorders may worry excessively about a wide range of topics, including their health, relationships, work, or safety. Excessive worry can lead to symptoms such as difficulty sleeping, difficulty concentrating, and physical symptoms such as muscle tension or fatigue.

 

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental health disorder characterized by persistent, unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and repetitive behaviours (compulsions) that a person feels driven to perform. These thoughts and behaviours can interfere with daily life and can cause significant distress.

 

Obsessions are often related to themes such as cleanliness, order, or safety, and may include excessive worry about germs, contamination, or making mistakes. Compulsions are behaviours that a person feels driven to perform to reduce anxiety or distress related to the obsession. Common compulsions include hand washing, checking, and arranging objects.

 

OCD can be a disabling disorder, and it is often accompanied by other mental health conditions, such as anxiety disorders or depression. It is important to seek treatment for OCD, as it is a treatable condition and can significantly improve quality of life.

 

Trichotillomania / Dermatillomania - also known as hair-pulling or skin picking disorders are characterized by the repetitive and compulsive pulling out of one's own hair or picking of the skin. It can result in significant hair loss or damage to the skin and can cause significant distress to the individual.

 

These are classified as an impulse control disorder and can often accompanied by other mental health conditions, such as anxiety disorders or depression.

 

Phobias - a phobia is an intense and irrational fear of a specific object or situation. Phobias can be irrational because they are not based on a realistic or rational assessment of the object or situation. For example, a person with a phobia of spiders (arachnophobia) may experience extreme fear and anxiety when they see a spider, even if the spider is not harmful and is unlikely to cause any harm.

Phobias can cause significant distress and interfere with a person's ability to function normally.

 

Symptoms of a phobia can include:

  • Extreme fear and anxiety when faced with the object or situation

  • Avoiding the object or situation

  • Physical symptoms such as rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, or tremors when faced with the object or situation

 

There are many different types of phobias, including specific phobias (such as a phobia of snakes or a phobia of heights), social phobia (fear of social situations), and agoraphobia (fear of open or crowded spaces)

 

 

It is important to work with a mental health professional, such as a psychologist to determine the most appropriate treatment approach for your specific needs.  Psychological interventions, or therapies, can be effective in treating anxiety disorders. In some cases, a combination of therapies may be most effective. By seeking treatment for an anxiety disorder, individuals can learn to manage their anxiety and improve their overall well-being.

 

Some common psychological interventions for anxiety disorders include:

 

  • Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT): CBT is a type of therapy that helps individuals identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviours that contribute to anxiety. It can involve techniques such as exposure therapy and relaxation training.

 

  • Exposure therapy: Exposure therapy is a type of CBT that involves gradually exposing an individual to the objects or situations that they fear, in a controlled and safe environment. This can help to reduce anxiety and improve coping skills.

 

  • Mindfulness-based therapies: Mindfulness-based therapies, involve training in mindfulness techniques, such as meditation and mindfulness exercises, to improve awareness and reduce anxiety.

 

  • Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT): DBT is a type of therapy that helps individuals regulate their emotions and improve their coping skills. It can involve skills training in areas such as mindfulness, emotion regulation, and distress tolerance.

 

 

I am highly trained and experienced in a range of anxiety focussed therapies.  Please feel free to discuss this with me further.

WORKING WITH ANXIETY 
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