Anxiety is one of the most common reasons people seek counselling and psychotherapy. It can affect anyone and at any point in their lives, occurring in people from all backgrounds, communities, cultures and occupations. There are many reasons as to why someone may develop an anxiety disorder, it is common in people who lead stressful lives and those who have a history of it in their family. People who have engaged in long term drug abuse may also be at risk developing an anxiety disorder.


What is anxiety and how do I know if I have it?


We have all experienced stressful or dangerous situations that have caused feelings of panic, worry and fear in us. These responses are completely natural and do not happen that often for most. However, people who have anxiety disorders display these feelings regularly and often at times when they least expect it. This can leave the sufferer feeling very distressed, frightened and powerless.


Anxiety is usually described as an unpleasant feeling typically associated with uneasiness, fear, worry and dread, however it affects people in different ways and contains both psychological and physical symptoms.


Symptoms of anxiety


The psychological effects of anxiety include:


  • Fearful anticipation of future events
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Heightened alertness or difficulties feeling calm
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Constant worrying
  • Problematic sleep
  • Depression
  • Panic attacks


The physical effects of anxiety include:


  • Chest pains
  • Faintness
  • Pounding Heart
  • Muscle Tension
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Rapid and/or shallow breathing
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Headaches and dizziness
  • Sweating
  • Decreased libido
  • Frequent urination


Sometimes, a specific event in your life can trigger an anxiety disorder and this has led to a phobia or fear, a panic disorder, post traumatic stress disorder or an obsessive compulsive disorder. All these conditions contain anxiety as the primary symptom and focus around a specific issue or personal experience.


People can also experience worry and fear not connected to a specific life event and this can be excessive and uncontrollable. This is known as Generalised Anxiety Disorder.


If anxiety goes untreated, it can impact on your relationships, day to functioning and socialising as well as having an effect on your mood and confidence.


How can counselling help with anxiety?


Counselling and psychotherapy can help you deal with the underlying reasons for your anxiety by exploring the feelings, triggers and behaviours that surround the issue.


One of the most common ways of treating anxiety is Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), however other forms of talking therapy are also helpful and the approach to your anxiety will be tailored to your needs and the goals you set with the support of the therapist. We will explore ways in which you can slowly reduce your levels of anxiety and identify any barriers to achieving this.


Sometimes anxiety can be so severe that additional help may be needed from your GP. If this is the case, we will support you in accessing this support should you feel you need it.


We understand that working through anxiety is not an easy process. However, we are committed to supporting you in finding the best way forward in your recovery, helping you find new ways of dealing with and managing the stressful situations and emotions you are faced with.