Psychologists have a high success rate when helping people with anxiety
People are increasingly seeking anxiety treatment from a psychologist. Positively, psychological researchers have learned more and more about how people’s emotions, and the brain, work. With this increased knowledge has come the development of effective anxiety treatments. Excessive use of alcohol or drugs can be seen as self-medication of anxiety, although these are not constructive coping mechanisms, whereas psychological therapy for anxiety is constructive. Adolescents and children suffer from anxiety just as adults do, and people of all ages can benefit from targeted therapy.
Symptoms of Anxiety
There are a number of symptoms of anxiety, including constant worrying, low confidence, inability to make a decision, difficulty concentrating and remembering things, being irritable, feeling tense or agitated, or avoiding or being fearful in certain situations. If these symptoms occur too often or interfere with your ability to lead an enjoyable life, it is recommended that you seek anxiety counseling. For some, anxiety is ongoing and continues for no particular reason, making daily activities difficult or impossible. These people are said to have an anxiety disorder, and in such cases, treatment program is necessary to obtain relief.
Finding the right psychologist for your concerns can be difficult, however Rose Park Psychology’s friendly receptionists can help you choose the most appropriate therapist for you.
Panic Attacks are also often overcome through seeing a psychologist. Panic is a form of anxiety but generally comes on much more quickly and the symptoms are much stronger than generalised anxiety.
Types of Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety disorders come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, depending on what triggers the anxiety and how it manifests:
- Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD). Individuals who constantly worry may not be aware that this arises from negative attitudes and is a thinking habit. Such persons often have a parent who is also a worrier. People with this condition worry excessively and about most things, such as health, money, work, or relationships. Falling asleep is often a problem for these people as well.
- Panic Disorder (PD). People who have this condition experience extremely unpleasant symptoms in situations where other people would not be afraid. They feel that they may die or go crazy. They have chest pains, dizziness, nausea, shortness of breath, numbness, and/or trembling. In some cases, people avoid going out altogether because they are so scared of experiencing a panic attack in public.
- Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. If in the past, sometimes even a long time in the past, you have been through an extremely stressful or even traumatic situation, you may find that symptoms of anxiety have persisted. When the feelings and thoughts relating to the trauma have persisted, seeing a psychologist can help free you from the influences of the past. In extreme cases, when a range of symptoms including chronically high levels of anxiety and flashbacks are present, a diagnosis of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder may apply.
- Agoraphobia. People with agoraphobia experience anxiety in places of all kinds, including crowded places, supermarkets and shopping centres, public transport, lifts, and others. To avoid this happening, they often restrict the places that they will go, which inhibits their enjoyment of life.
- Specific Phobia. A phobia is an intense and irrational fear about a particular object or situation. Often, exposure to the feared situation, person or thing can spark a panic attack or other unpleasant fear reactions. The fear can cause people to go to extreme lengths to avoid having to confront the object of their fear, which can interfere with their daily living.
- Social Phobia. This is extreme discomfort or fear in social settings. The person reports dying of embarrassment and fears being judged. At Rose Park Psychology, the person to see for such an issue is Dr Remy McCubbin, who has a special interest in this area. Some people with Social Phobia can become depressed, often because of the social withdrawal that follows from this disorder.
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Everyone is familiar with OCD, which has entered into common vernacular. For some this is mild and indicates perhaps an excessive orderliness and perfectionism. But some people with this condition experience intrusive and unwanted thoughts such as fears of contamination, of not locking the house properly, of committing violent acts, or repetitive thoughts of bizarre sexual images. These intrusive thoughts are called obsessions. People with obsessions may perform elaborate rituals (that is, enact compulsions) like washing hands or checking things over and over. These rituals are usually time-consuming and interfere with normal life. People with this disorder are often extremely embarrassed about it and keep it a secret from others. Hoarding disorder and excoriation (skin-picking) disorder, and body dysmorphic disorder (when people have an excessive and irrational fear that they have a defect in their physical appearance) and trichotillomania (hair-pulling disorder) are included in this category.
- Illness Anxiety Disorder (Severe Health Anxiety or Hypochondriasis). People with this condition worry excessively about their health. They fear that they have or may develop a serious illness. It is always essential to see you doctor to rule out the presence of illness. In people with such disorders, health anxiety persists or returns even after getting reassurance from their doctor. People with this disorder frequently check themselves for symptoms of illness, avoid places such as hospitals that remind them of illness, or may be very worried about germs and excessive cleanliness. They excessively seek reassurance and information from doctors and other sources (e.g., the internet) about their health.
Fortunately, effective anxiety treatment is available from all our psychologists.
You can make an appointment with a psychologist without a referral if you would prefer private treatment, or if you feel your anxiety is not severe enough to be called a disorder, but you would still like to be less anxious. If you feel that your anxiety is significant and you would like to claim the Medicare rebate, make an extended appointment with your GP. They can assess your symptoms and produce a Mental Health Care Plan if indicated.
Traditionally, anxiety has been treated with Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. CBT is a form of structured therapy, which aims to change the way a person thinks and behaves in certain situations by teaching them techniques to manage their anxiety, such as slow-breathing and changing the focus of their attention away from worries and anxiety. It can also help change an unhelpful thinking style to one that is more rational or adaptive. Without throwing out the approaches that have been successful in the past, our psychologists also use the Mindfulness approach, ACT, EMDR and other recently developed approaches to complement anxiety treatment.
Around 14% of Australians are affected by an anxiety disorder each year, but only a small percentage of these will seek treatment. The good news is that most anxiety disorders can be successfully treated. If you contact us, our receptionists will help you to find the right psychologist for you.