Anxiety Therapy Online
What is anxiety?
Anxiety disorders are a group of mental health conditions characterized by intense and excessive feelings of fear, worry, or nervousness. These feelings can be overwhelming and persistent, causing significant distress and impairment in daily life. People with anxiety disorders often experience physical symptoms like rapid heartbeat, sweating, trembling, and difficulty breathing.
Anxiety disorders can vary in their severity and impact. They may arise in response to specific triggers or situations, or they can be more generalized, affecting a person across various areas of life. The intensity of anxiety can vary from mild to severe, and it can lead to avoidance behaviours, where individuals avoid situations or activities that trigger their anxiety.
While anxiety is a normal emotion that everyone experiences from time to time, anxiety disorders involve excessive and uncontrollable worry that can interfere with daily functioning. These disorders can be chronic, lasting for an extended period, or they can be triggered by specific events or situations.
The exact causes of anxiety disorders are complex and may involve a combination of genetic, environmental, and psychological factors. Some people may be more predisposed to anxiety due to their brain chemistry or family history.
When is it time to seek therapy for anxiety?
It’s a good idea to seek therapy for anxiety if:
- Persistent and excessive worry: If you find yourself constantly worrying and it interferes with your daily life, relationships, work, or school, it might be a sign that anxiety is becoming problematic.
- Physical symptoms: Anxiety can manifest as physical symptoms such as frequent headaches, muscle tension, stomach issues, rapid heartbeat, or difficulty breathing. If you are experiencing these symptoms and they are not explained by any other medical condition, it could be related to anxiety.
- Avoidance behaviour: If you start avoiding certain situations or activities due to anxiety, it may be impacting your quality of life and indicate that it’s time to seek support.
- Interference with daily life: When anxiety starts affecting your ability to function in everyday activities, such as work, socializing, or self-care, it’s essential to seek help.
- Sleep disturbances: Persistent difficulties falling asleep or staying asleep due to anxious thoughts may require professional intervention.
- Difficulty coping: If you feel emotionally overwhelmed and unable to cope with daily stressors. Or if you are using unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as substance abuse or self-harm.
- Social isolation: Anxiety can lead to withdrawing from social interactions and isolating oneself. Therapy can help address the underlying causes and support re-engaging with others.
- Long-lasting symptoms: If you’ve been experiencing anxiety symptoms for an extended period, such as several weeks or months, it’s time to consider seeking professional help.
Remember, seeking therapy is a proactive step toward taking care of your mental health. It doesn’t mean you are weak or incapable; rather, it shows that you are committed to improving your well-being. Our therapists can provide you with the necessary support, coping strategies, and interventions to manage anxiety effectively.
Therapy for Anxiety
CBT for anxiety is the most recommended therapy for these disorders. CBT is a well-established, evidence-based psychotherapy that has been extensively researched and proven effective in treating various anxiety disorders. It is considered the gold standard for anxiety treatment by many mental health professionals.
CBT for anxiety typically involves two main components:
- Cognitive therapy: This aspect focuses on identifying and challenging negative thought patterns and beliefs that contribute to anxiety. The therapist helps the individual recognize irrational or unhelpful thoughts and replace them with more balanced and realistic ones.
- Behavioural therapy: Behavioural techniques are used to address avoidance behaviours and promote gradual exposure to anxiety-inducing situations. Exposure therapy, a form of behavioural therapy, involves gradually facing feared situations or triggers to reduce anxiety over time.
CBT helps individuals develop coping skills to manage anxiety more effectively. It provides practical tools to deal with anxious thoughts, physical sensations, and behavioural responses, empowering individuals to take control of their anxiety.
In addition to CBT, other therapies have also shown effectiveness in treating anxiety disorders, including:
- Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT): Focuses on accepting anxious thoughts and feelings while committing to actions aligned with personal values.
- Mindfulness-Based Therapies: Mindfulness practices can be beneficial in reducing anxiety by cultivating present-moment awareness and non-judgmental acceptance.
- Metacognitive Therapy (MCT): Targets individuals’ metacognitive beliefs and thought processes to help break free from the cycle of worry and rumination.
- Compassion-Focused Therapy (CFT): CFT emphasizes cultivating self-compassion to reduce self-criticism and promote emotional regulation.
The choice of therapy may depend on individual factors, and the specific anxiety disorder being treated. Some individuals may also benefit from a combination of therapies tailored to their unique needs. For this reason, it’s important to consult with a qualified therapist to determine the most appropriate therapy for a specific anxiety disorder and to receive personalized treatment recommendations.
Our approach to anxiety counselling
At Psychology Therapy our therapists integrate knowledge from different therapy approaches that can help with anxiety disorders, including cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), Compassion-focused therapy (CFT) or metacognitive therapy (MCT).
We create a highly personalized and flexible treatment plan that perfectly aligns with your unique needs and circumstances. Our knowledge and experience allow us to draw from different therapeutic modalities to provide you with the coping methods and tools necessary to reclaim control over your life and make meaningful progress towards your goals.
Types of anxiety disorders
In the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition), the category of anxiety disorders includes several specific disorders. These disorders are characterized by excessive fear and anxiety, and they share some common features while also having distinct symptoms and diagnostic criteria. The anxiety disorders included in this category are:
- Panic disorder: Marked by recurrent and unexpected panic attacks, which are sudden episodes of intense fear or discomfort accompanied by physical symptoms like rapid heartbeat, sweating, trembling, and shortness of breath.
- Agoraphobia: Characterized by an intense fear of situations or places where escape might be difficult or help might not be readily available in case of a panic attack or other distressing symptoms.
- Specific phobia: Involves an intense fear of a specific object, situation, or activity. The fear is excessive and often leads to avoidance of the phobic stimulus.
- Social anxiety (social phobia): Marked by a strong fear of social situations where the person is exposed to possible scrutiny or judgment by others. This fear can lead to avoidance of social interactions.
- Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD): Defined by excessive and uncontrollable worry about various aspects of life, such as health, work, family, or finances. Individuals with GAD often struggle with persistent anxiety and physical symptoms.
- Selective mutism: Primarily diagnosed in children, this disorder involves consistent failure to speak in specific social situations despite being capable of speech in other situations.
- Separation anxiety disorder: Often diagnosed in children but can also affect adults, this disorder involves excessive fear or anxiety about being separated from attachment figures or home.
These disorders share the common feature of excessive fear or anxiety, but each has its own distinct diagnostic criteria, symptoms, and treatment approaches.
The causes of anxiety disorders are multifaceted and can involve a combination of biological, psychological, and environmental factors. While it is not always possible to pinpoint a single cause, several contributing factors may increase the risk of developing an anxiety disorder:
- Genetics: Family history plays a role in anxiety disorders, indicating a genetic predisposition. If someone has a close family member with an anxiety disorder, they may have a higher likelihood of developing one themselves.
- Brain chemistry: Neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, play a crucial role in regulating emotions and mood. Imbalances in these neurotransmitters have been linked to anxiety disorders.
- Life experiences: Traumatic or stressful life events, such as abuse, loss, or major life changes, can trigger or exacerbate anxiety disorders. Adverse childhood experiences, in particular, can have long-lasting effects on mental health.
- Personality factors: Certain personality traits, such as perfectionism, excessive worry, or a tendency to be overly cautious, can contribute to the development of anxiety disorders.
- Cognitive factors: The way a person thinks and processes information can influence anxiety. Negative thought patterns, such as catastrophizing or excessive rumination, can increase anxiety levels.
- Learned behaviour: Observing anxious behaviours in parents, caregivers, or peers can lead to learned patterns of anxiety in individuals.
- Environmental stressors: High levels of chronic stress, such as work-related stress or financial difficulties, can contribute to the development of anxiety disorders.
- Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as thyroid disorders or heart conditions, can cause symptoms of anxiety.
- Substance use: The use or withdrawal of certain substances, including alcohol, drugs, and medications, can trigger or exacerbate anxiety symptoms.
It’s important to note that not everyone with these risk factors will develop an anxiety disorder. Likewise, some individuals may experience anxiety without having any identifiable risk factors. Each person’s experience with anxiety is unique, and the causes can be complex and individualized.
Symptoms of anxiety disorders can vary depending on the specific type of disorder and the individual’s experience. However, some common symptoms often associated with anxiety disorders include:
- Excessive worry: Persistent and overwhelming worry or fear about various aspects of life, such as health, work, relationships, and everyday situations.
- Restlessness and irritability: Feeling on edge, agitated, or easily irritated, with an inability to relax.
- Fatigue: Feeling tired or drained, even after getting sufficient rest, due to the emotional toll of anxiety.
- Difficulty concentrating: Trouble focusing or experiencing your mind going blank due to the preoccupation with anxious thoughts.
- Muscle tension: Physical symptoms such as muscle tension, tightness, or aches due to chronic stress and anxiety.
- Sleep disturbances: Difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or experiencing restless, disturbed sleep patterns.
- Physical symptoms: Anxiety can lead to physical sensations such as rapid heartbeat, sweating, trembling, dizziness, shortness of breath, stomach upset, or headaches.
- Avoidance behaviour: Avoiding situations, places, or activities that trigger anxiety, which can limit a person’s life and restrict their daily functioning.
- Panic attacks: Intense episodes of fear or discomfort, accompanied by physical symptoms like chest pain, palpitations, shortness of breath, or a feeling of impending doom.
- Catastrophizing: Engaging in catastrophic thinking, imagining the worst possible outcomes in various situations.
- Self-consciousness: Feeling excessively self-conscious or scrutinized in social situations.
- Nervous habits: Developing nervous habits such as nail-biting, hair twirling, or fidgeting as a way to cope with anxiety.
- Excessive seeking of reassurance: Seeking constant reassurance from others to alleviate anxiety and doubt.
- Perfectionism: Setting unrealistically high standards and being overly critical of oneself.
- Fear of losing control: Worrying about losing control over one’s emotions or actions.
Do you offer anxiety therapy near me?
We offer online anxiety therapy because this way we can reach you out whenever you are in the world. We are trained in the United Kingdom and provide cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), compassion-focused therapy (CFT) and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT).