In this section, you’ll find information about treatment for all the major anxiety problems.
If you have anxious thoughts then you will feel anxious. Feeling anxious or having worrying thoughts leads to physical sensations that worry you even more which can increase anxious feelings and so the vicious cycle develops.
The OASIS questionnaire
will help you judge whether you are experiencing anxiety.
A score of 8 or more indicates anxiety
HOW CAN CBT HELP YOU OVERCOME ANXIETY
- Education – treatment will always start with establishing what you know about it and then filling in the blanks by helping you understand your worries and the fight or flight response which trigger and maintain anxiety. The more you understand your worries and physical symptoms the less they will disturb you.
- Look at what fuels your anxiety- we examine each of the following areas to see how these are impacting on your anxiety
- Worry – getting hooked into a process of negative thinking regarding problems that may happen in the future.
- Extreme thinking – telling yourself things are “terrible” “dangerous” “awful”
- Looking at your history and ongoing stresses over a number of years to establish if you have developed the habit of being anxious
- Fear of fear- if you have felt anxious in certain situations then you may start to predict feeling anxious in similar situations, and become frightened of the physical symptoms thus causing the feared symptoms to appear
- Safety behaviours – this includes avoidance of the feared object/place/person which is seen as a threat. This includes busy shops, family functions, crowded places, any type of conflict, talking to people etc. These are part of everyday life and avoiding them leads to more anxiety because you do not overcome their fears. Similarly, people often use escape where they will stay in a situation until they begin to feel anxious and then leave. Often the person will have their escape strategy planned. Other behaviours include reassurance seeking, using alcohol or drugs to help while entering an anxiety provoking situation or bringing a friend/family member etc.
- Hypervigilance – this is constantly scanning for danger in order to stay safe. This is exhausting and keeps your anxiety high.
- Treatment is then based on agreeing a plan to address each of the above areas e.g. encouraging you to identify the range of safety behaviours you use to manage your anxiety levels so that a plan can be developed to drop unhealthy coping behaviours and enhance healthy coping behaviours
- Challenging anxious thinking. Keep an anxiety diary to gather information about your hourly anxiety and activity levels. This also will provide information on triggers which set of your anxiety. Anxious thoughts that were identified in the diary will be examined in session. This will involve challenging them and looking at evidence for and against them being true/factual.
- Exposure work or facing your fears: this is where you agree a planned schedule to face the things that you fear most. You compile a list of feared situations/tasks and start with the least frightened one. Exposure is conducted in a graded way with you identifying and staying in the situation until your anxiety reduces. You repeat this exercise at least 3-5 times per week. When you have overcome your fear you continue the process moving on to work on the next item on the list until you have tackled all your fears.
- You will be taught relaxation skills to help you manage your physical symptoms and anxiety. These will include progressive muscular relaxation, Qi Gong and breath work. You will also be introduced to mindfulness techniques
- Other skills which will be taught include distraction, delayed worry periods and a range of other techniques which are specific to your unique presentation or anxiety type.
Other problems include the following: