Anxiety Counselling Auckland
Does anxiety stop you living life to the full?
What is anxiety?
Anxiety can take many different forms with physical, mental and
emotional aspects. These forms are referred to as anxiety disorders. Below are some links to further information on
some common types of anxiety :
- Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) - the most common sort of
anxiety disorder - see below
- Social anxiety - fear of social situations
- Anxiety attacks -
panic, racing heart, sweating, trembling,
- OCD - Obsessions & compulsions,
(hand washing, hoarding, double checking, etc)
- PTSD - Post traumatic
stress disorder - persistent symptoms
- Specific phobias - such as spiders or flying
- fear of public or unfamiliar places
- Dissociation - feeling unreal, spaced-out, mentally blank or
numb - usually associated with one of the other disorders and past
- Sexual and intimacy anxieties - may be related to past sexual
trauma, performance anxiety self-esteem, sexual difficulties etc -
also see Sex,
sexuality & gender.
Symptoms of anxiety
Anxiety may build up over many years or occur quite
suddenly. Symptoms can be present in various ways, often unrecognised or
masked by normal ways of coping. Symptoms include:
- Stress, worry, fear, or even dread
- Difficulty relaxing or winding down
- Sleep disturbance, headaches, indigestion, sexual problems
- Frustration, restlessness, impatience, neediness or irritability
- Difficulty concentrating or mentally blank
- Nightmares, disturbing memories or flashbacks
- Racing mind, random scary thoughts
Causes of anxiety
- Stress : Significant life stressors often cause anxiety. Common stressors
include relationship problems, bereavement, relocations, health, work or
financial pressures, and family problems. While a certain amount of
stress in our lives is inevitable, continual stress is bad for health.
Stress is also likely to impact on relationships in the form of
irritability, withdrawal or neediness. Unaddressed stress can lead to
increasing anxiety problems and even trigger panic attacks or
agoraphobia (fear of leaving the house).
- Thinking patterns :
Thinking patterns, known as cognitive distortions or "stinky
thinking", can trigger and fuel anxiety. For instance becoming
fixated on worse-case scenarios - overestimating the dangers and
underestimating possible solutions - getting paralysed by "what
- Trauma : Traumatic events to oneself or a loved one often trigger anxiety.
It is normal to be anxious after a traumatic event. Examples include physical injury from a car crash, work accident or natural disaster.
A recent event can also retrigger trauma from long ago. For some
people the anxiety does not pass with time. This is PTSD (post
traumatic stress disorder).The body and
mind continue to react as if the traumatic event is ongoing even if
the danger is not longer present.
- Connection :
Our ability to establish and maintain social connection, including
friendships and intimate relationships, is fundamental to our
overall mental health and wellbeing. If our natural human
capacity for these attachments has been damaged by adverse life experiences then there
will be an increased vulnerability to anxiety and other
psychological distress and disturbance.
- Depression :
Anxiety is often co-present
with some level of depression. The fear feelings of the anxiety plus the
sad feelings of depression can reinforce each other and become quite
distressing and lonely.
help in many ways including:
- A safe place to feel heard, understood & supported
- Gain insight into the underlying causes
- Explore stress patterns and triggers
- Professional assessment and diagnosis
- Develop coping strategies, tools and techniques
- Recover resilience, confidence & self-esteem