Sunday, 30 August 2015

Psychology Sunday; What is Anxiety???

I've always wanted to combine my training/day job and love of all things beauty on my blog. I came up with the idea of TheFoundationDirectory's Psychology Sunday, where I periodically write posts about mental health related issues. 

TheFoundationDirectory Psychology Sunday; What is Anxiety?
For abit of background and context I work in mental health and have done for over 11 years now, I originally qualified as a Occupational Therapist in 2004 and then went on to complete postgraduate studies in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy in 2010. I will be adapting these posts as I go along, and initially they won't be weekly.

I would first like to say we all have mental health (just like we have physical health) and from time to time we require treatment and/or support to deal with difficulties with our health, be that through medication or Therapy. Part of my reason for doing this is to breakdown the stigma and encourage more people to talk about mental health and some issues they may encounter with it.

I thought I'd start with Anxiety, one of the most common mental health concerns.
What is Anxiety?; it's a normal phenomena that presents itself physically that we will all experience from time to time in our life. It becomes a disorder when it starts to impact on your day-to-day function or peaks to an uncontrollable level during a specific situation e.g. phobias. For some people it can mean constant and unnecessary worry about any and all aspects of daily life or future events that may or may not even occur. There are many different types of anxiety disorders; Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Social Anxiety, Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Mixed Anxiety and Depression (MAD), Panic Disorder and Phobias to name a few. (I will go into detail about each one as this series evolves).

Symptoms: As I said for most the symptoms of Anxiety present themselves physically, for example shaking, breathlessness, increased heart rate, restlessness, sleep problems, upset stomach, tension, poor apetite, panic attacks, headaches and obviously constant worry etc. You may experience some or all of these, and you may worry about things that haven't happened or are unlikely to happen or no amount of planning or preparation could prevent from happening e.g. a natural disaster etc.

Treatment Options: There are many treatment options for Anxiety, and the best option for you may depend on the type of anxiety you suffer with, but CBT is effective at treating most types and is usually easy to access through a GP or self referral depending on where you live. One of the things to mindful of is 'self-medication' e.g. alcohol to calm nerves, drugs etc, these can sometimes just create dependency and do not address the issues causing the anxiety.

One of the things to note is you're not alone, like I said Anxiety is one of the most common, and even if you're not aware you probably know someone who suffers from it. If you are concerned about this or any other mental health issue, please see your GP, there is treatment out there that can help you feel better.

Please comment below and let me know what you think of this post/idea, or contact me on social media also let me know what other posts you would like to see.