Anxiety is about threat and danger (either real or imagined), where the fear that you feel is out of proportion to the actual threat itself.
We have all experienced a situation that evoked feelings of anxiety or panic because anxiety is a natural biological human response to a threatening situation. However, when anxiety is constant or overwhelming and it interferes with your daily life, it stops being functional; that’s when you’ve crossed the line from normal, productive anxiety into the territory of anxiety disorders.
Because anxiety disorders are a group of related conditions rather than a single disorder, they can look very different from person to person. One individual may suffer from intense panic attacks at the thought of going to a party, whilst someone else may be debilitated with fear by thought of travelling on a train. Others may suffer from uncontrollable or intrusive thoughts, whilst another may live in a constant state of tension, worrying about anything and everything.
Sometimes it’s difficult to know when anxiety is becoming a problem for you. You might find that you’re worrying all the time, perhaps about things that are a regular part of everyday life, or about things that aren’t even likely to happen. Sometimes people worry about worrying or are anxious about feeling anxious.
Anxiety is often accompanied by symptoms such as – A sense of dread. Shortness of breath. Difficulty concentrating. Feeling tense and jumpy. Anticipating the worst. Irritability. Restlessness. Headaches. Feeling like your mind’s gone blank. Palpitations. Difficulty sleeping. Drowsiness & tiredness.
There are six major types of anxiety disorders:
Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) - characterised by constant and excessive fear and worries or a persistent feeling that something bad is going to happen. People with GAD often feel anxious nearly all of the time, although they may not even know why.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) - categorised as unwanted thoughts or behaviours that seem impossible to stop or control. Recurring worries such as thinking that you forgot to turn off the iron, continually checking that doors are locked or disturbing images in your mind. You may also suffer from uncontrollable compulsions, such as washing your hands over and over again.
Social Anxiety - Social anxiety disorder is a persistent and overwhelming fear of social situations and is one of the most common anxiety disorders. Social anxiety is the fear of interaction with other people that brings on self-consciousness, feelings of being negatively judged and evaluated, and as a result, leads to avoidance.
Phobias – A phobia is an unrealistic or irrational fear of a specific object, activity, in a situation that in reality presents little to no danger. Common phobias include a fear of animals (particularly spiders and snakes) a fear of heights, flying and being trapped. Most phobia sufferers go to extreme lengths to avoid the thing the fear. Unfortunately, avoidance only strengthens the phobia.
Panic attacks (Panic disorder) a panic disorder is characterised by repeated, unexpected panic attacks, as well as a fear of experiencing another episode. A panic disorder may also be accompanied by agoraphobia, which is the fear of being in places where escape or help would be difficult in the event of a panic attack. If you have agoraphobia, you are likely to avoid public places such as shopping malls, or confined spaces such as an airplane.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an extreme anxiety disorder that can occur in the aftermath of a traumatic or life-threatening event. You are likely to experience flashbacks and have dreams about the event, and these are likely to trigger strong anxiety and feelings you experienced during the actual event.
How can counselling help?
Anxiety is not something biological that we inherit and it’s not a force external to us. Anxiety is something we cause ourselves. Unhealthy beliefs, thoughts, actions and behaviours lie at the root of anxiety and it these underlying factors that cause anxiety. Counselling will help you identify and address these underlying factors.
Counselling for anxiety is highly effective in helping you explore both the root cause, and the factors that are maintaining your anxiety, along with helping you rationalise your unhealthy beliefs. Help will continue outside of the counselling room by putting practical measures in place in order for you to manage your thoughts, feelings and behaviours ongoing.
Further reading on anxiety management and self help
‘Making Friends with Anxiety’ A warm, supportive little book to help ease worry and panic - by Sarah Rayner (2014)
'Free Yourself from Anxiety’ A Self Help Guide to Overcoming Anxiety Disorders' by Emma Fletcher and Martha Langley (2009) 'Overcoming Anxiety’ - A Self-Help Guide' by Helen Kennerley (1997)
Anxiety UK - Information, support, and a dedicated helpline for UK sufferers and their families.
Helpline - 08444 775 774*
Why use Counselling Ashford?
Hundreds of lives have been changed for the better
Proven in building a trusting relationship enabling individuals to find a greater understanding of them self and find a way forward and achieve their goals.
Help, support and guidance - reducing confusion and enabling clarity and choice
Tools for you to continue to use at home once the counselling is completed
BSC(hons) Psychology (accredited by the British Psychological Society)
Cert Counselling Skills
We subscribe to and work within the UKCP Code of Ethics and the BACP Ethical Framework
We will help you understand what is going on in your life that is causing you unhappiness
Feel relaxed in quiet, comfortable environment
Convenient & flexible appointments to suit you.
Ideally located in the heart of Kent in three practices, near Ashford, Canterbury, Maidstone and Medway
Just a note to say how grateful I am for your help and advice. I was so muddled and confused before I had my sessions with you. I can see things more clearly now and have much more confidence after your help and advice. I know I have a bit further to go but with you support I am quite sure I will get there.
P. Bennett - Rye
A friend advised me to come and see you about my anxiety attacks. I must admit to being a little sceptical at first, but you were so patient Sian and you seemed to have a knack in making me see my strengths. I cannot tell you how much it has helped me in my work and social life. I no longer want to hide away when there is an important social event. I can at last look forward to things instead of dreading meeting new people. Thanks you from the bottom of my heart.
As a man in his sixties and having seen various counsellors in the past I didn’t think anyone could help me. As you know I had suffered various bouts of depression throughout the years and had begun to think the problems were ‘built in’ and such a part of me there was no escape. It has been quite a journey but I wanted to thank you for your continuing support , help and advice. At last I can feel more positive and I am in a much happier place – thank you Sian
Thank you so much for all your help and support I feel better than I have for years!
About Counselling Ashford
Through gentle questioning and discussion you gain clarity and understanding of your situation. We will help you find ways to move forward and achieve the goals that you set yourself. We have practices in Ashford, Charing & Egerton