When Do I Need to See Someone about My Anxiety?

4 Questions to Ask Yourself

  You’re anxious. You have been dealing with anxiety for a long time and you are starting to wonder whether you need to talk to a counselor about what you are experiencing. You feel that talking to a counselor would help, but you don’t want to blow your issue out of proportion. You don’t want to seem weak or incapable of handling your own business, but this is really bothering you. How do you know when it’s time?   There are a lot of people who are or have been in your shoes. I have a lot of experience working with (and experiencing) anxiety, and this exact thought process is more common than you might think.   Know that you are supposed to be anxious; everyone is. Anxiety is a feeling that comes naturally and can serve a good purpose. Anxiety is our body’s and mind’s way of warning us that danger may be coming. Anxiety is what prepares us for fight-or-flight when in a life-threatening situation, and it is also what helps us to be more alert when something important is happening. Test anxiety? That can actually be a good thing in small doses. Being anxious can heighten your senses and awareness.   You are not weird or broken for being anxious — you are normal. Anxiety, like all other emotions, serves a good purpose. It becomes a problem though when it gets out of control. Suddenly that fight-or-flight response is happening every time a door closes or whenever you are in public, and that’s not good. We don’t want to eliminate stress or anxiety; we want to limit it and channel it into something positive.   Extract from Psych Central Online, to read the full article click here.  

Anxiety

Anxiety is a normal response to stress or danger. At times it is helpful because it can help prepare the body for action, and it can improve performance in a range of situations.   Anxiety becomes a problem when it is experienced intensely and it persistently interferes with a person’s daily life.   Anxiety symptoms are extremely common – everybody experiences them from time to time. There are several conditions where anxiety is one of the main symptoms. Phobias, generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) and post-traumatic stress disorder can all cause severe anxiety.  

Panic attacks

A panic attack is when your body experiences a rush of intense psychological (mental) and physical symptoms. You may feel an overwhelming sense of fear, apprehension and anxiety. As well as these feelings, you may also experience physical symptoms, such as nausea, sweating, trembling and a sensation that your heart is beating irregularly (palpitations). A panic attack can be very frightening and intense, but it is not dangerous. It will not cause you any physical harm.   At least one person in 10 experiences occasional panic attacks, which are usually triggered by a stressful event or situation. However, people with panic disorder have recurring and regular attacks, often for no apparent reason. The number of panic attacks that you have will depend on the severity of your condition. Some people may have one or two attacks each month, while others may have several attacks a week.  

Symptoms

The symptoms of a panic attack can be very frightening and distressing. Symptoms tend to occur very suddenly, without any warning, and often for no apparent reason. As well as overwhelming feelings of anxiety, a panic attack can also cause the following symptoms:
  • sensation that your heart is beating irregularly (palpitations)
  • sweating
  • trembling
  • hot flushes
  • chills
  • shortness of breath
  • choking sensation
  • chest pain
  • nausea
  • dizziness
  • feeling faint
  • numbness, or pins and needles
  • dry mouth
  • a need to go to the toilet
  • ringing in your ears
  • a feeling of dread, or a fear of dying
  The symptoms of a panic attack can be so intense that it can make you feel like you are having a heart attack. The fear of having a heart attack can then add to your sense of panic. However, it is important to be aware that symptoms such as a racing heart beat, or shortness of breath, will not actually lead to you having a heart attack. Although frightening, a panic attack will not cause you any physical harm.   People who have had panic disorder for some time will usually learn to recognise this ‘heart attack sensation’, and will be more aware of how to control their symptoms. The symptoms of a panic attack normally peak within 10 minutes. Most attacks will last for five to 30 minutes. Because panic attacks can be very unpredictable, if you have panic disorder, you may feel stressed and worried about when your next attack will be.  

What are the treatment options for panic disorder?

There are two main forms of treatment for panic disorder – psychological therapy and medication. Depending on your individual circumstances, you may require either one of these types of treatment or a combination of the two. Before you begin any form of treatment your GP will discuss all of your options with you, outlining the advantages of each form of treatment, while also making you aware of any possible risks or side effects. This is because no single treatment is best for everyone, and which treatment is recommended will depend on your general health and the severity of your condition, as well as your personal preferences.  

The simple rule – seek help.

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