Anxiety and Stress are the malaises of our modern times! There are so many demands on people these days that we cannot always keep up….and then we start to feel it. A fast heart rate, a feeling of being rushed, starting to avoid things, our minds going blank when trying to recall something…or a sense of doom and dread. It can be hard to tell what is “anxiety” and what is “stress”. Our family history as well as our current workload can be instructive here.
A good clinical approach is to formulate the problem thoroughly while providing some relief for the symptoms. Stress is highly individualised and anxiety often follows a rather eccentric pathway. So it is very helpful for the person to gain a clear insight into how they are affected and at what times, and to practice strengthening techniques to manage the anxiety more effectively. Anxiety which is not complicated by too many other things shows a very good response to psychological intervention.
Anxiety disorders can include Generalised Anxiety, Panic Disorder, Social Anxiety, OCD and specific phobias. Luckily there has been a great deal of research into what is of most help for each of these. Therapist and patient work as a team to tackle parts of these which impact (usually starting with the easiest ones first!) and the aim is to make stepwise gains until the person experiences a much better quality of life.