If you are suffering from anxiety then you will know that the associated feelings of fear and worry can be totally debilitating. Constantly experiencing the physical and emotional symptoms can leave you feeling worn out and struggling to cope with everyday life. In some circumstances, the ‘fight or flight’ response or panic attacks will manifest and you will be left feeling totally drained.
But help is at hand as there are various forms of therapy that can be used to treat your anxiety. We are not talking about normal exam nerves here or the usual type of stress that occurs when you take part in new events such as moving home or a job, but the type of anxiety that lasts for a long time and overwhelms you.
How do you know when your anxiety needs to be treated?
If the thing that is causing your anxiety is ever present then it is unlikely that your symptoms will go away by themselves. You should never feel embarrassed or awkward about asking for help as anxiety can hit anyone at any time. Talk to your family and friends about it initially; once you start to share your feelings with people who understand, you will immediately begin to feel the pressure lessen a little.
Symptoms of anxiety
Here are just a few of the issues that anxiety can result in:
- Generalised anxiety disorder – this is when you are continually feeling anxious and fearful with no specific cause. The trigger may have been anything, such as events that took place at home, school or work.
- Phobia – this is when you feel very afraid of something, even when it would not normally create such a response. As soon as you come into contact with the situation or think about it, you will feel anxious.
- Panic disorder – panic attacks can include feeling faint, trembling and short of breath or lightheaded. They are often unpredictable.
- Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) – a mixture of obsessional thoughts that lead to compulsive actions that reoccur in an attempt to lessen the anxiety.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – flashbacks after being involved in a traumatic event so that you ‘re-live’ them.
What therapies can be used to treat your anxiety?
If you are experiencing any of the above, always consult your GP to begin with. They will assess you and make a referral if they feel it will help. Medication may also be offered. If you don’t want to wait on the NHS referral list, you can consult a therapist privately. Here are some of the treatments that are often used to treat anxiety:
Anxiety counselling – this often includes talking therapies and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) may be included. You will be shown how to analyse your thoughts and feelings and change the way you react and behave so that you think in a positive way and not a negative one.
Mindfulness – this works by emphasising your focus on the present moment. The idea is to identify triggers that make you feel anxious and find ways of dealing with them.
How to find the best anxiety counsellor or psychotherapist
Because there are no laws in place that specifically state what qualifications or training a counsellor should have, it pays to take some time to identify the most professional therapist that will suit you. NICE and other institutes like them set guidelines that counsellors have to comply with so choosing a therapist that is registered with one of these bodies is a good idea. Our website has been set up specifically to help people find a suitable therapist. All you need to do is enter your location and other preferences and we will provide you with a list of counsellors to choose from.
Once you make contact with a suitable therapist who can provide the types of treatment that can help your anxiety, you can book your first session with them. This will normally last in the region of 50 minutes although some anxiety therapists offer a trial session of a shorter length so that you can see if you are a good fit for each other. It is worth taking the time to find a therapist that you gel with as the stronger your relationship, the easier you will find it to work with them. During your first session you will also be able to experience first-hand the type of therapy being applied and ensure that you feel comfortable with it being used to treat your anxiety.