Anxiety Counselling Auckland

Does anxiety stop you living life to the full?

What is anxiety?

anxiety counselling @ auckland therapy : counselling & psychotherapyAnxiety 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, dizziness, etc.
  • OCD - Obsessions & compulsions, (hand washing, hoarding, double checking, etc)
  • PTSD - Post traumatic stress disorder - persistent symptoms following trauma
  • Specific phobias - such as spiders or flying
  • Agoraphobia - 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 trauma
  • 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 if's".
  • 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 overwhelming, distressing and lonely.

Anxiety treatment

Therapy can 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