Anxiety disorders occur when a person regularly feels disproportionate levels of distress, worry, or fear over an emotional trigger. They are thinking or telling themselves that the worse can happen. Anxiety that is chronic or interferes with a person’s ability to function warrants treatment.
It is normal for everyone to have some degree of anxiety at some points in their lives, such as exams, driving tests, job interviews, etc. This is no cause for any concern as these feelings of nervousness pass. For some people however these feelings are so intense that it affects their performance; and for other people these feelings arise for not any particular reason in a way that they feel they have no control over their thoughts, worries, feelings and behaviours.
According to the National Health Service (NHS) in the United Kingdom, “People with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) feel anxious most days and often struggle to remember the last time they felt relaxed. As soon as one anxious thought is resolved, another may appear about a different issue.”
Globally, the World Health Organization (WHO) says that almost 300 million people have an anxiety disorder.
You may be diagnosed with generalised anxiety disorder if you have felt anxious for a long time and often feel fearful, but are not anxious about anything in particular or around a wide range of situations or issues. People with GAD feel anxious most of the time and find it difficult to relax. The diagnosis should always be made by a doctor ruling out any organic cause of those symptoms. A client would need to get confirmation from them that it’s safe to use any hypnotherapy techniques or Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) before starting treatment. It’s worth noting that anxiety can lead to depression and vice versa.
However, many people who experience daily anxiety may not meet the criteria for an anxiety disorder but their lives are still affected by anxious thoughts, feelings and emotions. It will often affect other factors such as work, finances and social interactions. Therefore, the quality of life is often affected quite badly.
Many people with anxiety worry excessively in situations they find stressful. This can include auditions, acting, weddings, sexual performance, presentations and public speaking, examinations, interviews, social situations, sports performance and so on. A common form of anxiety is social anxiety, which affects people more specifically in social situations. It might make someone very self-conscious, perhaps not wanting to eat or drink in front of others, fearing that people are talking about them, or worrying about being lost in a crowd.
What are the consequences of not dealing with the anxiety?
1.- In the short term:
- the emotional consequence people feel is intense nervousness and irritability and frustration.
- Physiologically, they may experience blushing, sweating, stammering, rapid heartbeat.
- Mentally, they tend to think very negatively about themselves and focus internally, monitoring their performance or imagining or attempting to avoid negative consequences.
- Their self esteem is usually low. They tend to evaluate themselves on the success or failure of their performance, their feelings and other people’s perception of them.
- They may self medicate in an attempt to block or stop their feelings of anxiety and alcohol is often the drug of choice.
2.- In the long term, people may also become depressed or feel angry with themselves or with others.
- Physiologically individuals may develop irritable bowel syndrome and hyperventilation and panic.
- This may also lead to having Panic Disorder.
- The thoughts continue to become more negative. Their self esteem continues to spiral down and if they become depressed they believe they are failures as human beings.
- Their attempts to cope may cause other behavioural and relationship problems which in turn may affect career prospects.
- If the condition remains untreated it can aggravate the problem and the above consequences.
Therapy can help a person to understand what triggers their anxiety because no two people are the same neither are their experiences of anxiety. One of the most effective therapies for anxiety is called cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and Rational Emotive Cognitive Behaviour Hypnotherapy. The goal is to help a person understand how their anxious thoughts affect their emotions and behaviour, to learn what underlying beliefs are triggered in those situations and to replace those reactions with healthy or helpful alternatives. This type of therapy can help with generalized anxiety and anxiety relating to a specific issue.
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