Anxiety disorders are more common than depression yet there has not been the publicity to encourage people to recognise that their levels of anxiety are impacting on their lives. “Anxiety” is not a word that many people are willing to attribute to themselves and will often cover up how they are feeling.
We all feel anxiety to some extent. Anxiety is a normal biological reaction to a threat. The fight or flight response kicks in so the body is ready for action, and the release of adrenalin into the bloodstream helps us think quickly and take action faster. The problem with anxiety is that the level of danger becomes exaggerated in our minds, and we can feel tense and worried even where there is no immediate threat. When anxiety becomes so severe and frequent that it interferes with daily life then it is a problem and may be considered a disorder.
What turns everyday stress into an anxiety disorder? The research from the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development study found that work related stress can be a direct cause of anxiety and depression amongst previously healthy young adults. http://www.nclr.org.nz/.
It now seems that anxiety disorders are likely to be the result of a combination of genes, environmental factors and developmental factors. (see article Juvenile Mental Health Histories of Adults With Anxiety Disorders at http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/article.aspx?articleid=97893 For example one of the common anxiety disorders -Post traumatic stress disorder- is caused by trauma but genes and developmental factors may help explain why some people develop the condition and others do not.( Link to PTSD article by Anne)
Is psychotherapy helpful for anxiety disorders? In the model that is used by practitioners at Talking Therapy the safety of the therapeutic relationship is central. And within this environment we are able to use language to focus on the complexity of the experiences deriving from symptoms of anxiety, transforming and integrating them. (See article on this site “Benefits of Psychodynamic Psychotherapy”)
New Zealand’s anxiety rates are second only to those of the United States, and anxiety is on the increase worldwide. http://www.mentalhealth.org.nz/page/128-mental-health-quick-statistics.
If you are worried that anxiety disorder is an issue for you or someone close to you and would like to start to make changes you can contact Talking Therapy.