Anxiety – What is it?

Anxiety is something we all experience from time to time. Anxiety is a biological trait we all possess which is triggered in situations of danger and it is nature’s way of preparing us for fight or flight when we are feeling threatened or afraid.

Symptoms of anxiety include sweaty palms, increased heart rate, stomach butterflies, and a sudden burst of energy, which can be drawn upon to help us act in dangerous situations.

Anxiety can also perform a positive role when we are faced with challenging circumstances in life. For example, it can motivate us to get the job done when we are facing a deadline such as an exam or giving an important presentation or performance.

The time when anxiety becomes a problem is when we start to feel anxious about things which pose no actual threat to us and this is when we experience what is known as an anxiety disorder.

Anxiety is a debilitating disorder that can severely impact our everyday lives. Rather than feeling anxious in response to actual danger, we experience anxiety in normal everyday situations which we have come to perceive as threatening in some way.

Types of Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health conditions and there are a number of different types including:

  • Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) – this is characterised by excessive worrying about anything and everything beyond our control.
  • Social anxiety disorder – feeling anxious in everyday social situations, where we fear being criticised, embarrassed or humiliated.
  • Panic disorder – regularly experiencing panic attacks and feeling intensely anxious about having more attacks in the future.
  • Agoraphobia – anxiety about having a panic attack in an unsafe environment where we cannot escape or get help.
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) – performing repetitive actions such as hand washing or checking locks due to anxiety about the consequences of not doing so.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – extreme anxiety experienced after a severely stressful event.
  • Phobias – various forms of anxiety triggered by different things (i.e. fear of cats, fear of heights, fear of crowds etc).

Symptoms of Anxiety

While the symptoms of normal anxiety often include sweaty palms, accelerated breathing and increased heart rate, the symptoms of an anxiety can be much more pronounced and severe.

The physical symptoms can include profuse sweating, trembling, a pounding heart, shortness of breath, lightheadedness and nausea. Sufferers can also feel restless and highly keyed up and despite being easily tired, can have difficulty sleeping and often experience restless, unsatisfying sleep.

As well as extreme anxiety, emotional symptoms can include difficulty in concentrating, an inability to carry out everyday tasks, an avoidance of stressful situations and a tendency to make lists and to over-plan everything.

Causes of Anxiety Disorders

So what causes anxiety? According to the psychiatric profession, it is not one single factor, but more likely a combination of things including:

  • A family history of anxiety – some people may have a genetic predisposition towards anxiety disorders, which can sometimes run in families.
  • Personality traits – some personality types may be at greater risk of developing anxiety disorders (those who are naturally timid).
  • Stressful life events – anxiety disorders can be triggered by stressful events such as divorce, job loss, giving birth, abuse or loss of a loved one.
  • Health problems – certain physical illnesses can also contribute to anxiety disorders such as diabetes, asthma, hypertension and heart disease.
  • Other mental problems – other mental health conditions such as depression can contribute to the development of anxiety disorders.
  • Substance abuse – the overuse or abuse of drugs and alcohol can aggravate some anxiety conditions.

Methods of Anxiety Rehabilitation

There are several methods employed by health professionals to treat anxiety including:

  • Psychological treatments

Psychological treatments are aimed at helping patients to recognise their negative thoughts and alter them in a positive way. They include Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) (changing unhelpful thought and behaviour patterns to realistic ones), which has shown the most consistent and long-lasting improvements in patients suffering from generalised anxiety disorder (GAD).

  • Medicinal treatments

Antidepressants can help to reduce anxiety, but they are not as effective on their own as when used in combination with psychological treatments and their positive effects only last as long as they continue to be taken.

  • Therapeutic treatments

Therapeutic treatments can include confronting the feared situation to develop coping skills, using relaxation methods like progressive muscle relaxation, encouraging exercise which releases anxiety counteracting chemicals, teaching structured problem solving to deal with the stressors contributing to worry, and mindfulness skills to focus on the present rather than negative thoughts.

Help with anxiety at Palladium Private health treatment

Helping with anxiety is our specialty at Palladium Private. Our qualified therapists can help you pinpoint the beliefs that trigger your anxiety in a process that begins by learning techniques for observing emotions that result when anxiety is activated.

We teach that trying to stop a painful emotion only achieves a temporary fix at best. You might get through the moment, but when you are in a similar situation again, the same beliefs will be activated and the same emotional responses will occur. So at Palladium Private, we teach you unique ways to halt, alter and even reverse this pattern.

By using these new tools and techniques, you will learn to adopt new behaviours, apply new skills and engage in new ways of thinking. Our programs offer change that is lasting because our unique and comprehensive range of therapies go deep to the underlying root cause.

The Palladium Private Program is supported by CBT, ACT and Rational Emotional Behaviour Therapy (REBT) and is underpinned by Mindfulness Training. These therapies can help to alleviate the symptoms of depression and help sufferers to come out of themselves and reconnect with the world.

During your stay with us, you’ll enjoy nutritious meals cooked by our chefs and attention to your whole health by our personal trainers, yoga teachers, and spa and massage therapists.

So if you or someone you know needs help with anxiety, why not talk to our admissions team about a program tailored to your needs. Just fill out the online query form or call Palladium Private on 1300 573 095.