Therapy for Anxiety & Panic Attacks in London
When the feeling of dread or worry is constantly there, therapy for managing anxiety and coping with panic attacks can help.
Is Anxiety or Panic ruining your quality of life?
Anxiety and Panic Attacks are very real and can be debilitating, they can prevent you from living a full and satisfying life and limit your enjoyment, when you are in the grip of panic or a severe episode of anxiety it can feel like the world is ending.
Although the physical symptoms are very real and sometimes very powerful, the good news is that you won’t die from your anxiety, though the effects of it over time can harm your health. However, you can find ways to lesson or even stop the feelings of anxiety or panic altogether. Therapy for Anxiety seeks to discover the ‘trigger’ to your anxiousness and gently show you ways to manage your response to it.
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is the body responding to a perceived threat or danger. When there is something to be afraid of, or when we think there is something to be afraid of, our body, or perhaps more accurately our brain prepares our body to go into ‘fight or flight’ mode.
This could be something that presents itself as a physical danger however more often feeling anxious is our emotional response to fears around an insecurity or threat that we perceive exists, for example other people’s expectations of us, or the expectations we have of ourselves.
You may recognise one of the following scenarios:
- Future dates in your diary such as birthday drinks, a wedding invitation, a work meeting etc. fill you with a feeling of dread.
- Your mobile ringing or an email ‘pining’ in your inbox makes you feel anxious and overwhelmed.
- You are aware that although there is no specific event or thing that you are worried or anxious about, you feel overwhelmed by a constant ‘sense’, ‘feeling’ or ‘presence’ of dread and fear.
What are the Symptoms of Anxiety?
When the body responds this way, the symptoms that the body experiences, because of anxiety, are powerful.
You can experience some, if not all the following:
- You may notice that your thoughts are racing
- You may find you are unable to concentrate on things
- You may feel detached from the world around you
- You might suffer sweating . . . at times so profusely it is through your clothing
- That your heart feels as though it is racing
- Other physical responses such as sweaty palms, feelings of nausea, stomach churning
- Getting a sensation of ‘butterflies’ in your stomach, hands and legs trembling or tingling
- Legs feeling ‘like jelly’
- Feeling the need to go to the toilet
- Your muscles feeling tense and tight
- A feeling of light-headed and /or dizziness
- Your breathing may become shallow and fast.
The severity of these symptoms can vary, at times experienced only mildly, but at their most extreme they can build to a panic attack.
What are Panic Attacks?
Panic attacks are a combination of the above symptoms that are so strong you can feel as though you are having a heart attack or even that you are dying. This fear, that you may be dying, in turn creates more anxiety and the symptoms intensify. . . becoming a horrible vicious circle.
Having experiencing these symptoms, people often adopt certain behaviours to ’stop the anxiety’.
Avoidance as a response to Anxiety
Avoidance is a common behaviour adopted, by some, to attempt to control the situation, for example, avoiding certain places or people or only feeling able to do certain things if restrictions are in place.
Do you recognise any of these actions in yourself?
- Avoiding or delaying responding to invites or avoiding speaking or contacting someone so that you can ‘play for time’ until you can think of a way to avoid the social event or meeting.
- Leaving the opening of emails in your inbox or putting off opening your email inbox all together “if I don’t see it isn’t there and I don’t have to do anything about it”.
- Letting your mobile go to voicemail rather than pick up an unknown call or a call from a recognised number that may require you to respond.
These all attempt to ‘delay’ the time when you need to do something, in the hope that you will feel ‘more able to’ in the future. But of course, they only make the ‘thing’ worse and your anxiety around it gets stronger.
Numbing yourself to control your response to panic or anxiety
You might attempt to control your Panic Attacks by using medication, smoking or drinking to ‘cope’ with the symptoms. However rather than helping, stopping or treating anxiety, this makes the anxiety worse.
Why these Panic Attack or Anxiety control behaviours don’t work
Although it may feel alleviated temporarily the anxiety has been avoided rather than dealt with . . . and because you avoid the thing that makes you anxious, you do not learn that the feared thing does not happen, or if it does, it is not as bad as imagined. The avoidance tactic serves only to intensify the anxiety so that your response to the ‘trigger’ grows larger rather than diminishes.
These behaviours have a dramatic impact upon your life and consequently to the feeling that your anxiety is controlling you.
When the feeling of dread or worry is constantly there, Therapy for Anxiety and coping with Panic Attacks can help.
Therapy is a space within which you can learn how to cope with and manage the physical symptoms of anxiety and panic when they do arise, thereby helping to realise that you can control it rather than it controlling you.
Most importantly, as well as learning that that the symptoms of anxiety are something that can be controlled by you, rather than the other way around, therapy is also a space to discover what in fact is the ‘trigger’ to your anxiety.
It is most important to remember that anxiety is the symptom. It shows up as the result of something else and therapy can help to explore and discover what that is.
If you would like to take the first step to lesson or stop feeling anxious or having Panic Attacks, contact Rachel to discuss Therapy for Anxiety.
Some Helpful Articles & Resources on Anxiety & Panic Attacks
Mind: The Mental Health Charity
Explains anxiety and panic attacks, including possible causes and how you can access treatment and support. Includes tips for helping yourself, and guidance for friends and family.
In this clip from the film ‘Inside Out’, the organisation MindSet explain the way that anxiety can work in our minds: