4 Facts About Anxiety

4 Facts About Anxiety

by Dr Emma Gray - 10th July, 2014

1. It is estimated that approximately 1 in 6 people in the NHS will experience some form of anxiety related problem in their life time and the most recent Psychiatric Morbidity Survey estimated that 3 million people in the UK suffer from anxiety as their primary problem.

A recent World Health Organisation (WHO) study indicated that anxiety and depression is the cause of 40% of disability worldwide.

Anxiety problems may include panic attacks, generalised anxiety or worry, stress, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and social anxiety.

2. We have evolved to experience anxiety as a way of coping with danger; in essence the physiological changes that occur in the body (triggered by the release of the hormone adrenalin) enable us to run from, hide from or fight the danger.

This response is often referred to as the ‘Fight, Flight, Freeze’ response. Anxiety is intended to protect us, it has ensured our survival. However, anxiety is often triggered by perceived danger or psychological danger, not ‘real’ danger. This means that the physiological changes do not facilitate a useful course of action but disable and overwhelm the individual.

3. Where anxiety is not an adaptive response to real environment danger, it is occurs as a result of inaccurate and unhelpful thoughts. These thoughts usually involve a combination of an overestimation of a future catastrophe or disaster and an underestimation of the individual’s ability to cope with this.

The behaviour that results from this type of anxiety usually ensures that it is maintained over an extended period of time. Common types of behaviours that keep maladaptive anxiety going included avoidance, escape, ritualistic behaviour or compulsions and reassurance seeking.

4. Currently the most effective treatment for anxiety and anxiety related problems such as panic disorder, stress, generalised anxiety disorder, social anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and agoraphobia is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a type of talking therapy or counselling techniques which teaches sufferers to identify the inaccurate and unhelpful thoughts that are triggering their anxiety and exchange them for more accurate and self enhancing thoughts, build confidence in their ability to tolerate anxiety and engage in behaviours that protect against maladaptive anxiety rather than maintain or reinforce it.

At The British CBT & Counselling Service our Clinical Psychologists and Counselling Psychologists offer Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) based anxiety management and therapy programmes. These are offered face to face in our clinics in Richmond (Surrey), Clapham (London), Fulham (London), Marylebone (London), Islington (London), Canary Wharf (London), Kings Cross (London), West Bridgford (Nottingham) and Stamford (Lincolnshire). Alternatively therapy for anxiety is available via Skype or phone.

If you are suffering with any of the issues discussed in this article and would like to seek professional help then you may find our Anxiety Page helpful.

Dr Emma Gray

Dr Emma Gray

I am often the first person with whom my patients share significant and intimate thoughts and memories; I never take that privileged position for granted nor the opportunity to help someone to feel better about themselves and discover a more fulfilling life. One of my colleagues once described me as a natural psychologist; I guess she was alluding to the fact that I feel at ease being a therapist, I can empathise with people’s distress and discomfort but don’t feel overwhelmed by it, I can understand their problem and know how to help, it has always just felt like what I should be doing.

Read more about my approach to counselling here...

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