Anxiety is a natural emotion which we all experience.
Anxiety is characterised by feelings of tension, worry, intrusive thoughts, stress and can be felt in the body as tension. Anxiety can make us more alert and help us cope better with stressful situations where we need to perform, for example, exams, job and interviews etc. Therefore, in certain circumstances, anxiety is a positive thing.
However, when anxiety persists and is not related to any specific event, then it becomes problematic and can affect the quality of your life.
There are six main classifications of problematic anxiety:
- Generalised anxiety disorder – this is where a person tends to feel anxious most of the time for no specific reason. They might have fears of death, humiliations, separation etc.
- Social anxiety – Where a person feels uncomfortable or embarrassed in social situations or crowds. They have intrusive thoughts and beliefs about what people think of them.
- A specific phobia
- Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) – where certain routines need to be performed in order to ease each persons anxiety.
- Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – where a traumatic event gets relived and the feelings are as strong as when the event happened.
- Panic disorders – where people get triggered and get panic attacks where they feel they can’t breathe and feel that they might die. Panic attacks cannot kill you.
Anxiety can lead to panic. Most people try to avoid the feeling of anxiety as it is so uncomfortable. However, Anxiety is merely a replacement for the true feelings which the person is not expressing. For example, anxiety is felt instead of feeling sad, angry, hurt, vulnerable etc.
In therapy, we would look at the anxiety and the thoughts and feelings behind it. As a person looks at their beliefs and assumptions, and deals with their issues, the anxiety tends to naturally ease.