We all suffer from anxious and stressful thoughts from time to time. Often the cause can be attributed to a situation we’re involved in. Anxiety can be a message that something we’re facing needs addressing.
Anxiety can also become a habit. When anxiety is out of proportion with a current situation (such as a deadline) or is habitual, psychologists consider it a disorder.
The most common psychological problem in Australia is Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD). GAD is characterised by a feeling of persistent and excessive worry. Other anxiety disorders include:
- Phobias of all kinds are generalised fears, usually without basis
- Panic disorder (periodic panic attacks with no trigger event)
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a compulsive need to repeat a ritual to ward off a perceived threat. Compulsive hand washing because of fear of germs is one example of OCD
- Social Anxiety Disorder is a fear of being criticised or being thought of negatively by others
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) occurs after a particularly stressful occurrence. It comes back in the form of flashbacks, dreams and anxiety when something triggers the memory of the event.
All of these anxiety disorders can be treated by psychologists. One of the most successful types of treatments is Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT). CBT can help patients reduce or eliminate anxiety by teaching them to change the thoughts and behaviours that contribute to anxiety. Some of the treatments psychologists use in CBT include:
- Problem solving allows the patient to think through their anxiety and come up with solutions to reduce anxiety
- Exposure therapy is designed to expose patients to their anxieties. In time, they learn to deal more effectively with their specific anxiety
- Cognitive restructuring is a method that helps a patient challenge negative thoughts and replace them with positive and constructive thoughts
- Mindfulness teaches the patient to focus on the bodily feelings and thoughts that come with anxiety. They learn to observe these thoughts and feelings objectively and in time become detached from them
- Relaxation techniques include meditation, progressive muscle relaxation or both. Relaxation techniques, if practiced regularly, can be a very effective form of treatment
A psychologist might use one or more of these types of treatments. It will depend on the individual needs of a patient.
Leichhardt Psychologists May Help with Anxiety Disorders
Our team of psychologists at Petrozzi Wellness Centre may be able to help if you or someone you love is suffering from an anxiety disorder. Call us on 02 9518 0096 for a complimentary 10 to 15 minute phone interview. Ask for our On-Call complimentary phone call service.