Anxiety Counselling in London
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is defined as an emotion that is characterised by intense feelings of tension, worried thoughts, and physical changes such as sweating, increased heart rate, and increased blood pressure. Behaviourally, Anxiety can dictate where you go and when, depending on the level of anxiety one experiences and the triggers for this. Anxiety is reportedly the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year. Those suffering from an anxiety disorder increase their risk of being hospitalized for a psychiatric disorder. Anxiety disorders develop as a result of brain chemistry, personality, life experiences, and genetics.
In 2013, there were a reported 8.2 million cases of anxiety in the UK and in England women were nearly twice as likely to be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder than men.
When to Seek Help for Anxiety
Anxiety is a normal emotion to experience and determining when to seek treatment can be difficult. Typically, when your anxiety is preventing you from fulfilling your activities of daily living at work, school, or home, it is time to seek some help. Signs of anxiety evolving into a disorder include, constant tension or worry, having constant fears and worries that are irrational and consuming, experiencing unexpected and sudden attacks of panic, and nervousness of a danger or threat frequently.
Types of Anxiety Disorders
Seeking help to manage anxiety is critical when the symptoms cause you extreme distress and or disrupt your daily routine. Anxiety can present in several ways:
- Anxiety in association with Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) can manifest as physical symptoms such as insomnia, stomach aches and pains, fatigue, and restlessness.
- Phobia is defined as an irrational and exaggerated fear that presents no real danger, just perceived danger of situations, activities, or specific objects.
- Panic Disorder is characterised by unexpected panic attacks. Panic attacks are abrupt onsets of fear that manifest as intense physical symptoms such as racing heart, sweaty, sensation of choking or difficulty breathing, and chest pain. This disorder is sometimes accompanied by a fear of not being able to get help if an attack occurs - known as Agoraphobia.
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is having unwanted thoughts or behaviors that you feel you have little-to-no control over. The thoughts and behaviors are intrusive by nature and may be accompanied by compulsions.
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an extreme anxiety disorder that is developed after an individual experiences a traumatic or life-threatening event. PTSD can have symptoms such as intense and vivid nightmares or flashbacks and hyper-vigilance.
Treatment for Anxiety in London
It is possible to treat and manage anxiety and therapy can be very successful in resolving anxiety disorders. Cognitive and Behavioural Therapy (CBT) helps you to identify and challenge negative thinking and irrational beliefs that trigger anxiety. Mindfulness is a skill to directing your attention to the present moment and your responses to it physically, mentally, and emotionally. Tips for managing anxiety pertain to being mindful of yourself physically. Manage caffeine intake, eat balanced meals, and give yourself a physical outlet for energy such as exercise. With your therapist, you can work to identify triggers, responses, and a plan to cope with the triggers.
For more information about talking therapies and treatment programmes available at our Clinics in London please visit our Treatment page.
Anxiety Disorders in Children
Anxiety is characterized by a state of excessive and intrusive worry that causes distress and or interferes with daily functioning. While anxiety is in the fear classification of emotions, people who suffer from anxiety may feel constant tension and uneasiness in anticipation of a real or imagined threat. People who suffer from anxiety often have a feeling of malaise, which is they feel like something is wrong, but they just can’t describe what it is. Children may also suffer from anxiety but recognizing the problem can be difficult. A 2015 health report indicated that up 80% of children with a diagnosable anxiety disorder don’t get the treatment that they need.
Signs of Anxiety in Children
The following symptoms were reported in a study of anxiety in children of all age groups (from infancy to adolescence). These symptoms covered a wide range of different stressors, while still being in accordance with the fifth edition of the Diagnostic Statistical Data for Mental Disorders (DSM-5) published by the American Psychological Association (APA).
Separation from caregivers appears to be the most significant stressor during this period. Infants displayed fearful reactions and excessive crying when separated from caregivers. Late infants also displayed shyness and tension with unfamiliar persons.
This age group demonstrated fearful reactions or anxiety towards the following stressors: separation anxiety (12-18 months), fear of lighting, water, darkness, animals, and nightmares. The symptoms associated with these stressors were crying, clinging, withdrawal, freezing behaviors (including not speaking), eloping behaviors (avoidant), seeking physical contact for nurturing, pavor nocturnus (night terrors), and enuresis (bed-wetting).
Early Childhood (4-5)
Children of this age group displayed a phobia of death, and had symptoms associated with General Anxiety Disorder (GAD).
Children of this age group begin showing signs of academic performance anxiety, which led to symptoms associated with GAD and Panic Disorder (PD).
Adolescents expressed fear of social rejection of negative evaluations, and they also had symptoms associated with GAD or PD. Other symptoms included extreme shyness towards unfamiliar people, timidity, avoidant behaviors, and feelings of shame. Generalized Anxiety Disorder symptoms are as follows:
- Constant worrying about future or past activities; constantly expressing concern or worry about others.
- Expresses constant worry about academic performances, home safety, travel safety, etc.
- Expresses constant worry or fears about the safety of others, may be worried about abandonment.
- Sleeping or eating disturbances. Nightmares, insomnia, not eating enough (a little more about dreams later). The sleep disturbances cause concentration difficulty and fatigue.
- Constant physical symptoms such as headaches, stomachaches, restlessness, or muscular tension such as muscle spasms.
When to Get Child Counselling for Anxiety
- If the child has a panic attack: characterized by severe emotional distress or the belief that one is having a medical emergency.
- Constant and irrational fears, even having fearful responses to daily routines such as leaving the house or being separated from the parents.
- Constant worrying that interferes with normal activities such as functional play, socializing, or academic performance.
- A persistent pattern of worrying that persists for longer than a month.
- Emotional outbursts, tantrums, which occur on a frequent basis.
It’s important to understand that children generally have a hard time putting their concerns into words, so sometimes they may be screaming and crying, or throwing a tantrum, and they’re actually having a panic attack, they just lack the cognitive capacity to articulate that verbally.
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for Children
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based, psychotherapeutic intervention method that is designed to help people change the way they think about their problems, and even about themselves. People have distorted thoughts about themselves, their problems, and even the world they live in. These people may see their problems as being worse than they actually are, or they may be poorly misinterpreting events, or even just being too hard on themselves; CBT is designed to help them change the way they think for more accurate, positive thinking, which improves their moods and facilitates positive behavioral change. Our therapists are CBT experts who are specially trained, and have experience working with children, even children who suffered trauma or abuse. Studies show that children who receive these therapeutic interventions improve dramatically compared to children who don’t.
How To Get Therapy for Anxiety in London
We offer Psychological Therapies for Anxiety to Adults, Children and Teenagers at our clinics in Central London.
London Therapists for Anxiety
All our Therapists offer Psychological Therapies for Anxiety to Adults, Children and Teenagers. Click here to meet the Team.
Private Therapy Fees
Sessions with our Psychologists are by prepaid appointments only. You can find out more about our fees on our Fees Page.
Further Reading about Anxiety
Anxiety can happen to anyone at anytime, which makes learning to manage anxiety a necessity. Please click here to view a comprehensive list of blogs about managing anxiety and shared techniques for tools such as mindfulness. Additionally, with the rise of technology, you now have access to applications you can use on your phone. Please click here to view the comprehensive list of applications that will help to manage anxiety. It is important to note that the aforementioned self-help tools are best used in addition to working with your therapist.