Anxiety is all about threat and danger (either real or imagined), where the fear that you feel is out of proportion to the actual threat itself.
People can make themselves anxious about anything: dealing with work, or their home life, thinking about the future, walking into a room full of people, flying and so on.
An anxiety disorder is a cover term for a variety of neuroses where anxiety is the predominant emotion. Anxiety disorders include the following:
Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
GAD is a chronic and persistent anxiety that’s not focussed on any specific event or situation. People living with this condition can become overly afraid of a variety of everyday concerns.
A phobia is an extreme or irrational fear or aversion to something. Common phobias include flying, animals and insects. Social phobia is a fear of becoming humiliated in public places, whilst agoraphobia is combination of several things, including a fear of open spaces and of being away from home.
A panic attack is usually a one off response to something. Sometimes people can have several panic attacks about the same thing. If people have several panic attacks it can sometimes become panic disorder, which is a fear of having a panic attack.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
This is a form of anxiety that can develop when someone is exposed to one or more traumatic events such as sexual assault, serious injury or threat of death.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
OCD is characterised by excessive intrusive thoughts, coupled with repetitive behaviour (such as constant hand washing) to ward of the thoughts and anxiety. There is also a condition known as ‘Pure O’, characterised by obsessive thoughts only, without the repetitive behaviours.
This is an excessive and debilitating fear of being away from home or away from the people you care about.
This includes performance anxieties, such as exam nerves, fear of public speaking, stage fright and psychosexual dysfunction, or a fear of life changing events, such as getting married or changing jobs.
Whenever an anxiety becomes excessive or out of your control, it’s then time to do something about it. Which is where I come in.
Partly through my work in private practice (I see more people for anxiety and work-stress than any other problem) and partly through my work with health charity Anxiety UK (I’ve been with them since 2003) – anxiety has become a specialism of mine.
I’ve had plenty of experience in helping people taking control of their anxieties and turning them into a healthy level of concern appropriate to the situation.
CBT is considered the gold standard of treatment for anxiety disorders, whilst hypnotherapy (being an altered state of consciousness similar to daydreaming or nodding off) is the perfect foil for anxiety.