Have you ever felt a bad case of butterflies in your stomach before an examination or a job interview? Or have you experienced racing heart and sweaty palms before your first date or any other important events? Or perhaps you have had situations where your breaths were shallow and quick and it was hard for you to catch your breath?
These are some common reactions our body signal to tell us we are stressful. Most of us might be able to contain these feelings of discomfort. However, for some, these feelings might become overwhelming and persistent, leading to anxiety.
Everyone is well aware of this term, but Anxiety is a difficult word to describe as it is a normal human emotion, like love, happiness or sadness, that affects everyone differently. Everyone experiences anxiety occasionally, as it helps us respond to potential fears, situations and challenges. But when it becomes excessive and interferes with daily life, it may indicate an anxiety disorder.
Here, counselling and psychotherapy is an effective way to manage these symptoms of anxiety. You can find counsellors and psychotherapists in your area by searching Anxiety Counselling in (your city’s name), e.g. Anxiety Counselling in Singapore or Anxiety Therapy in Singapore to find the relevant support you are looking for.
The term “anxiety disorders” refers to a cluster of different mental conditions that cause chronic or constant anxiety and fear. The different types of anxiety disorders include Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Panic Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, Phobia Related Disorder, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Let us try to understand the concept of each in slight detail.
Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
GAD, or Generalised Anxiety Disorder, can be defined as a persistent feeling of excessive anxiety, stress and unrealistic worry for no logical reason. People with GAD may worry uncontrollably about normal or common situations as well. This irrational worry can interfere with daily life, friendships and relationships.
Panic disorder can cause panic attacks. These are caused by sudden, intense fear and may occur at any given time for no apparent reason. Some common symptoms of panic attacks are chest tightening, quicken heartbeat, sweating, hyperventilation, dry lips and giddiness
Social Anxiety Disorder
As the term signifies, people with social anxiety disorder fear public gatherings, meetings, and public speaking. They are excessively self-conscious and avoid meeting new people. For some, this phobia or fear may get in the way of their daily routine activities.
Phobia Related Disorder
A phobia is a persistent, unrealistic, intense fear of specific objects or situations. People with specific phobias, such as a phobia of heights (acrophobia), fear of tight enclosed spaces (claustrophobia), or fear of certain insects or animals, suffer from intense fear and dreadful reaction when encountered with any fearful situation or object. This might lead to avoidance of common everyday situations, causing much disruptions to day to day routine.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
PTSD develops after witnessing or experiencing something traumatic. The symptoms may appear immediately or may be delayed for years. The condition largely common found in victims of an assault, war survivors, survivors of natural disasters, and someone who witnessed the assault, murder or accident and watched their loved one suffer and being harmed. People with Post Traumatic Symptoms (PTS) might experience flashbacks and nightmares, have difficulty sleeping and may avoid places related to the trauma.
While there are some of us who may experience Complex PTSD, also known as CPTSD. It is common for people who had experienced developmental trauma, abuse, neglect and those experiencing ongoing threat in their lives.
How Can Anxiety Be Treated?
Anxiety leaves a person feeling drained and might lower their self-confidence. But Nothing Lasts Forever, Warrior, not even Anxiety.
You can overcome anxiety through Anxiety Therapy. This includes various approaches
Psychotherapy is an approach for treating anxiety disorders. Psychotherapy sessions can be conducted with a mental health professional like – psychologist, psychiatrist or psychotherapist.
Psychotherapy provides a safe space for people to process the different emotions, thoughts and behaviours that might bring up anxiety or affect their mood. Psychotherapy can help the person to cope with challenging situations and to bounce back from adversity
Somatic therapy or body-oriented therapy is a form of approach in psychotherapy that integrate the use of the body or the nervous system. The heart of Somatic Therapy is to regulate the mind using the body, providing a more holistic approach in psychotherapy by finding balance between the cognition (mind) and soma (body).
There are many ways to work with the body. Some common approaches in somatic therapy may include movement and breath, though the list is inexhaustive. At team Soulmatics, our therapists are trained in somatic-oriented approaches such as Somatic Experiencing and NeuroAffective Touch. This is to support clients who come to us by allowing them to experience a more holistic and embodied therapeutic process.
Medication is a way to relieve anxiety symptoms but does not necessarily cure the disorder. Speak with a trusted psychiatrist to learn how pharmacological interventions can support you in your anxiety recovery journey.
During anxiety, the body produces adrenaline (flight and fight hormone) under stressful conditions. The adrenaline that the body releases can be utilised by doing something active. Going for a walk, doing some stretching, engaging in gentle movements can help alleviate anxiety. Activities such as, Yoga, pilates or even Tension Release Exercises (TRE) can be great alternative options for people with anxiety.
The Science Behind Anxiety
Simply put, during an anxiety response, the brain releases two hormones – adrenaline and cortisol. Adrenaline is a hormone that is released during a fight or flight response. Cortisol is also released as a stress response but has other bodily functions as well. Both of these hormones prepare the body to fight stressful situations. Once the stressful situation is over, the brain secretes more hormones to help achieve a calm state. But in some cases, this ability of the brain to reach a calm state is hampered, leading to the body to remain stuck in an anxious state.
Anxiety is a prevalent mental health issue. Experiencing anxiety is extremely common, although the causes may vary drastically from person to person. If you feel anxious frequently, you can always seek help from a psychiatrist, psychologist or psychotherapy.
Get in touch with Soulmatics today at +65 8851 0439 or firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how psychotherapy can support you and your concerns with anxiety.