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Anxiety

Here you'll find some general information about anxiety, and some information about how psychological therapy can help.

Some of this information might be new to you, but chances are you might already have a pretty good idea about anxiety; after all, you didn't come to this page looking for a new hat! 

We hope you find comfort and confidence that we also understand it, and we can help.

Anxiety as a Healthy Response

First of all, anxiety is often a natural, healthy response to potential threats or challenges. It’s a part of our automatic “flight or fight” response, which is activated to respond to and keep us safe from perceived dangers. It can help us stay alert, focused, and prepared. For example, it helps us to be careful when crossing a street, and it may provide motivation to prepare thoroughly prior to important events (like meetings, exams).

When Anxiety Becomes Unhealthy

Unfortunately, anxiety can become unhelpful and unhealthy.

Instead of being temporary, it can become prolonged or chronic.

Instead of matching the level of the perceived threat or challenge, it might be disproportionately intense. It may even occur in the absence of any clear threat at all.

Instead of providing motivation, it may encourage avoidance or unnecessarily excessive preparation and planning.

Instead of being manageable, it might have a significantly negative impact on day-to-day activity.

You can read more about anxiety disorders here.

The Impact of Unhealthy Anxiety

Unhealthy anxiety can have a significant impact on well-being across a range of domains. Common symptoms include excessive worry, restlessness, muscle tension, rapid heartbeat, changes to breathing, light-headedness, and poor sleep. It can impair concentration, and it can contribute to gastrointestinal issues, increased blood pressure, and a weakened immune system functioning.

It can increase the risk of other mental health issues, such as depression, anger, and substance abuse.

Maladaptive efforts to manage it can bring about social/occupational/educational difficulties or complete avoidance. For some, it can bring about physical damage, such as wound and infection from skin-picking or cracked hands from over-washing.

What to do

Talk to someone: Family, a friend, a colleague, a neighbour, Lifeline. Get help through being heard. Know that it’s not just you going through this. Know that there are people who want to help, and there are people who can help. If you have a worry you feel embarrassed about, then please find some comfort in the likelihood that Clinical Psychologists have very, very likely heard it before.

When you’re ready (or close enough to ready!), talk to your GP. Once they understand your needs, even if it’s just in general terms, they can write a referral to a Clinical Psychologist suited to you. If you’re in Penrith, you want to travel to Penrith, or you’re keen on telehealth, then that may well be our clinic!

Psychological Therapy: this is where we come in. We will work with you to determine the best course to allow you to take control back, and with it improve your quality-of-life. Now, we’re not the only game in town. If you’re not local or you don’t like the look of us (ouch!), then your GP will have other options. Otherwise, there’s always Google… If you’re looking, it’s important to try to ensure you find a therapist who has experience with your particular needs, and is appropriately trained.

Medication: in some cases, medication can be very helpful. This may be an important part of your discussion with your GP, and for specialist advice you might liaise with a psychiatrist.

Lifestyle change: look, this really should be higher on the list. It’s easy to overlook and it might sound a little simple, but exercise, diet, sleep, and relaxation can be an immense help. Your personalised therapy plan will help you to address barriers to potential change.

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