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Stress & Anxiety
Most of us know what it feels like to be under pressure, feel stressed, worried or anxious. It is a normal and natural reaction to something we believe to be threatening. Anxiety can be triggered by certain situations, specific events or even by our thoughts. However, sometimes anxiety may occur when there is no apparent trigger.
Stress and anxiety may be experienced as physical symptoms. Stress and anxiety alter our body chemistry and these natural biological changes can affect various systems within the body creating a wide range of unpleasant physical symptoms. Common physical symptoms of anxiety include feeling hot, sweating, headaches, muscular aches and pains, chest tightness, nausea, indigestion, diarrhoea, skin rashes, breathlessness, rapid breathing (hyperventilation) can cause dizziness, light-headedness, numbness, tingling, feeling strange, detached or faint.
Common expressions such as ‘gutted', ‘strung out' ‘worried stiff' and ‘worried sick' reflect the physical components of stress and anxiety. Stress and anxiety can use up a lot of energy leaving us feeling ‘emotionally drained' and physically fatigued. These unpleasant symptoms can become a source of worry in their own right and so we can become worried about the symptoms of feeling worried or stressed.
Stress and anxiety can affect the way we think. When anxious we often focus on what might go wrong – these ‘what if' thoughts can be ‘spooky' and so create greater anxiety. When anxious we may tend to overestimate our own vulnerability and the perceived danger we face. When anxious we tend to focus our attention on our threatening worries. Our ‘what if' thoughts can make us feel even more anxious and then preoccupy us. Our fears and worries can repeatedly ‘hijack' our attention and then continue to go round and round in our head disturbing our ability to concentrate and remember things, draining our energy and damaging our well-being.
Anxiety can impact on our behaviour. It is often associated with sleep disturbance, changes in eating patterns, irritability and social withdrawl. We are more likely to avoid and withdraw from normal activities when anxious.
If anxiety or stress persists it is easy to see how it can have a very negative impact on our quality of life. Anxiety can cause considerable distress and disability.
Fortunately there are effective treatments for anxiety. People do get better and remain better.
Cognitive behavioural therapy is the treatment of choice for anxiety.
Useful web sites:- See the National Institute for Clinical Excellence – Clinical Guidelines for anxiety and panic
Please call 020 7936 3454 or email
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