Therapy for Anxiety
At The READ Clinic, we know that anxiety is more than just feeling stressed or worried. Everyone feels stressed or worried at some point, and these are actually natural reactions to situations where we feel under pressure.
But when anxious feelings don’t go away, happen without any particular reason or make it hard to cope with daily life it may be the sign of an anxiety condition or disorder.
Anxiety is the most common mental health condition in Australia. On average, one in four people will experience anxiety at some stage in their life.
Types of Anxiety Conditions
The five major types of anxiety disorders are:
Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
An anxiety disorder characterised by chronic anxiety, exaggerated worry and tension, even when there is little or nothing to provoke it.
Social Phobia or Social Anxiety Disorder
An anxiety disorder characterised by overwhelming anxiety and excessive self-consciousness in everyday social situations. Social phobia can be limited to only one type of situation – such as a fear of speaking in formal or informal situations, or eating or drinking in front of others – or, in its most severe form, may be so broad that a person experiences symptoms almost anytime they are around other people.
An anxiety disorder and is characterised by unexpected and repeated episodes of intense fear accompanied by physical symptoms that may include chest pain, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, dizziness, or abdominal distress.
A child experiencing some anxiety when separated from their parent is a normal part of development. This can become an issue when the separation anxiety continues, and becomes a controlling part of the child’s live, so that it starts to restrict what they are able to do. It can often represent as an intense fear, crying and clinging to a parent or caregiver when separation is about to occur, refusing to be alone, or sleep alone.
Selective mutism is a debilitating issue in which a child and in some cases adults, are unable to speak or communicate in common everyday situations such as at school, with extended family, but are able to freely communicate with close family members.
A phobia is an excessive and irrational fear response in which you can feel a terrifying sense of dread or panic when faced with what is feared. The fear is often linked to something specific, such as a place, situation, animal or object. Many individual’s will develop extensive strategies to avoid encountering what they fear and will often seek treatment when their phobia interferes with their day to day life.
An agoraphobia involves a fear of leaving an environment in which the individual feels safe and secure. In severe cases a person with agoraphobia can become house bound and become too afraid to leave the front door to go to their letter box. Agoraphobia can also involve a fear of being in busy and noisy places, such as shopping centres or public spaces. Some individuals who experience severe panic attacks can become housebound and become agoraphobic as a result of trying to avoid having a panic attack.
Illness Anxiety Disorder
Illness anxiety disorder, which was previously called hypochondriasis, is an excessive worry about becoming seriously ill, often an excessive worry that the individual has cancer or a tumour or may have a heart condition. Often the individual may believe that everyday body sensations or minor symptoms or bumps are signs of severe illness, even though the individual has been provided with medical advice that they do not have a medical condition.
Substance Induced Anxiety
Substance induced anxiety is anxiety that is directly caused by the use of medication or exposure to alcohol or drugs. The symptoms often match the symptoms of generalised anxiety disorder.
Therapy for Anxiety
There are a number of effective treatments and therapies that can help you understand and manage the cause and symptoms of anxiety. The practitioners at the Clinic will assess the causes and symptoms of your anxiety and use a therapy (CBT, EMDR, ACT, IFS) that will best suits. Your practitioner will work collaboratively with you to develop a treatment plan to achieve the best outcomes.
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for Anxiety
CBT is a structured psychological treatment which recognises that the way we think (cognition) and act (behaviour) affects the way we feel. Once you’ve recognised any unhelpful patterns that are contributing to your anxiety, you can make changes to replace these with new ones that reduce anxiety and improve your coping skills.
Professionals may use a range of techniques in CBT. Examples include:
- Understanding where your worries may have originated in earlier life experiences.
- Encouraging you to recognise the difference between productive and unproductive worries
- Teaching you how to let go of worries and solve problems.
- Teaching relaxation and breathing techniques, particularly muscle relaxation, to control anxiety and the physical symptoms of tension.