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  • Writer's pictureDr Dermot Casey

Stress & Anxiety

Life is tough and so are you, otherwise you would not be reading this here today. One of the biggest problems that we all face today is trying to manage the difficulties of everyday life. One of the resulting negative outcomes of this are anxious states, including stress, panic, and constant worrying.

Let me first of all state that anxiety is normal and is in fact good for us. What do I mean by this? If you do not have some type of anxiety you will not be careful while crossing the road, to ensure that you will not get knocked over by passing traffic. You would not be normal if you were not anxious before a job interview or maybe for some a visit to the dentist. Yes, anxiety is something that we all have each day; as it helps us at times to navigate the challenges that we all face in life. However, at times anxiety can get to the level where it is managing us instead of us managing our anxiety levels. When this happens it is time to come and talk to a professional.

What are some the symptoms of anxiety?

  • Feeling nervous, restless or tense

  • Having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom

  • Having an increased heart rate

  • Breathing rapidly (hyperventilation)

  • Sweating

  • Trembling

  • Feeling weak or tired

  • Trouble concentrating or thinking

  • Having trouble sleeping

  • Experiencing gastrointestinal (GI) problems

  • Having difficulty controlling worry

Types of Anxiety

  • Agoraphobia is a type of anxiety disorder in which you fear and often avoid places or situations that might cause you to panic and make you feel trapped, helpless or embarrassed.

  • Anxiety disorder due to a medical condition includes symptoms of intense anxiety or panic that are directly caused by a physical health problem.

  • Generalized anxiety disorder includes persistent and excessive anxiety and worry about activities or events — even ordinary, routine issues. The worry is out of proportion to the actual circumstance, is difficult to control and affects how you feel physically. It often occurs along with other anxiety disorders or depression.

  • Panic disorder involves repeated episodes of sudden feelings of intense anxiety and fear or terror that reach a peak within minutes (panic attacks). You may have feelings of impending doom, shortness of breath, chest pain, or a rapid, fluttering or pounding heart (heart palpitations). These panic attacks may lead to worrying about them happening again or avoiding situations in which they've occurred.

  • Selective mutism is a consistent failure of children to speak in certain situations, such as school, even when they can speak in other situations, such as at home with close family members. This can interfere with school, work and social functioning.

  • Separation anxiety disorder is a childhood disorder characterized by anxiety that's excessive for the child's developmental level and related to separation from parents or others who have parental roles.

  • Social anxiety disorder (social phobia) involves high levels of anxiety, fear and avoidance of social situations due to feelings of embarrassment, self-consciousness and concern about being judged or viewed negatively by others.

  • Specific phobias are characterized by major anxiety when you're exposed to a specific object or situation and a desire to avoid it. Phobias provoke panic attacks in some people.

When anxiety is controlling your life, it maybe time to come and talk with someone, to understand why and how you have got to this stage and what can be done to change same. Generally speaking, we can make changes both cognitively (the way that we think, attitudes, worrying, beliefs) and physically (exercising and the way that we tense our bodies) that can be changed to reduce anxiety levels.

When you come to therapy, you will work with the therapist to understand the way that you engage or process what is happening in your life, as for most of the time we are doing so automatically, and it is out of our awareness.

This is followed by making simple changes to our lives and it might also include some deeper changes to the way that we think about ourselves and the way that we engage with life in general.

If you have any comments on the above please contact me as shown below.

Thanks for reading

Dr Dermot Casey

Counselling Psychologist, Cork, Ireland.

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