Anxiety is a generalized mood similar to fear though with fear, there is a perceived threat. Anxious feelings often present in response to a more diffuse, potential threat or without an identified threat. Anxiety can also be described as a heightened sensitivity to possible threats in the environment often from past experience in a threatening place. In fact, anxiety was first documented in soldiers that returned from war.
Anxiety also shares many similar symptoms with depression including poor concentration and memory, irritability, fatigue, insomnia, and a sense of hopelessness. It is common for people who experience depression to also experience anxiety.
Some purely anxious symptoms include:
- excessive worry
Your GP is the first person you should speak to about anxiety if you are experiencing these symptoms. They can offer a listening ear and prescribe anti-anxiety medication. Often they will refer you for counselling because although the medication can improve mood regulation, there may be underlying issues within your life that left unaddressed may be fueling the anxiety.
Dealing with anxiety involves various strategies beyond medication. Mindfulness and relaxation techniques can be particularly effective. These practices help individuals focus on the present moment, reducing the impact of intrusive anxious thoughts. Techniques like deep breathing, meditation, and progressive muscle relaxation can alleviate symptoms of anxiety by promoting a state of calmness and mental clarity.
Counselling plays a crucial role in addressing the root causes of anxiety. A counsellor can provide a safe space for individuals to explore their thoughts and feelings, identify triggers, and develop coping strategies. Therapeutic approaches like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) and Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapy not only help in managing symptoms but also empowers individuals to understand and control their anxiety in the long term.