Treating anxiety through multi-discipline online therapy
What is anxiety? Anxiety is the mind and body’s reaction to a stressful, dangerous or unfamiliar situation, as perceived by an individual.
Anxiety is always based on a feeling of “What people think of me”. This is often a good explanation for a person to understand some of their historic feelings. A person experiencing anxiety will feel a sense of unease, or a feeling of dread either before an unknown situation or a known event. Anxiety can be centred around day-to-day activities such as getting into a car or meeting a new group of people. It could be a job interview or eating out for dinner somewhere new. Anxiety can also be relative to the more severe such as being in the company of men following a sexual assault, fear of public humiliation, unable to travel due to intrusive thoughts or an inability to look in the mirror due to how a person feels about themselves.
Whatever the scenario, anxiety is not a normal feeling, it can be life-altering for some, debilitating, embarrassing and incredibly stressful. It is not a feeling a person must live with; it is something which can be overcome.
What is happening to me when I experience anxiety?
When a person experiences anxiety, the brain is aroused in survival mode resulting in one of 3 behavioural responses:
When the brain is in survival mode everything else shuts down. The feeling of joy, for example. In some situations, this behaviour response is over quickly or features mild physical symptoms and therefore, we move on. For others, the spectrum of symptoms and feeling can be quite severe, and this can result in much deeper levels of emotion and shame, which further leads to more extreme avoidance behaviours with life-impacting results.
One of the most common transitions with anxiety is the direct lead to depression. For those with untreated anxiety or prolonged periods of anxiety, this can lead to a deeper level of depression through the lack of joyful energy, rumination, lack of recovering sleep, exhaustion, heightened sense of vigilance and more anxiety. Once the cycle of depression starts, it becomes more of a perceived challenge to both treat the anxiety but also to identify it as the cause of the depression. This is where online therapy is an essential part of recovery.
Do I have anxiety or an anxiety disorder?
An anxiety disorder can be explained as a persistent level of anxiety which interferes with daily life, resulting in people becoming distressed and unable to function. It is an anxiety disorder which often evolves quickly into depression and commonly substance abuse of some kind; food over or under eating, alcohol consumption increases or drug taking.
For example, experiencing anxiety about meeting a friend in a new location, but still attending, would be anxiety but experiencing anxiety about meeting a friend in a new location and cancelling not just once but often, in favour of scenarios you can control, would be anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders limit your life and place further impact on those close to you.
There is a vast spectrum of different types of anxiety, from day-to-day lifestyle anxiety to developed disorders. Whether it is anxiety about a job interview, or an inability to leave your home, the mind and body response is very much the same. Therefore, nobody needs to experience anxiety alone and for long. Online multi-discipline therapy is a quick and personalised means of overcoming your anxiety to face life’s challenges with peace and calmness.
How does online therapy help me overcome my anxiety?
The most common anxiety disorders for which people seek online therapy for are:
Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) – the two major diagnosis requirements for GAD are excessive worry about life events and difficulty in controlling the world plus multiple other mental health symptoms consistent in appearance for over 6 months (depression or substance abuse for example)
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) – characterised by the presence of unpleasant obsession; intrusive thoughts which repeatedly enter the person’s mind, and also compulsions; repeated behaviour.
Agoraphobia – a fear from which escape may be difficult in the event of having a panic attack. Commonly thought of as people unable to leave their home, but agoraphobia can also apply to crowded places and some forms of transport where escape is difficult.
Panic disorder – recurring unforeseen panic attacks plus at least 1 month worry about having a panic attack resulting in significant change in behaviour.
Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) – worrying about appearance and having a distorted view of own physical appearance.
Social anxiety disorder – persistent fear of one or more performance situations. Worrying before and after events where the response to this worry is out of proportion to the ‘threat’ or activity.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – follows a situation of catastrophic nature, including; violent personal assault, military combat, terrorist attack, natural disaster, rape or sexual assault, car accident
The list below of the different types of anxiety individual’s face can help to identify where you may be experiencing anxiety or anxiety disorders:
Body Dysmorphic disorder
Compulsive skin picking
Emetophobia (fear of vomiting)
Fear of flying
Generalised Anxiety Disorder
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Seasonal Affective Disorder
Trichotillomania (pulling own hair)
Stigma plays a large role in the reason for challenges in diagnosis of anxiety disorders. Most often a person will not want to disclose how they feel or perceive their anxiety not to be important enough to talk about. Online therapy can give a person a safe space to talk about their anxiety without any fear of judgement. As we can always find a treatment to resolve the anxiety, this opportunity to discuss your anxious thoughts and disordered behaviours can be a life-changing step.
Following your initial consultation, the first session delves deeper into understanding the specific life challenges which cause anxiety and subsequent behavioural response. This leads us to understand where and how this anxiety started. From here we use multi-therapy techniques to change the brains thinking and alter how you respond to challenging scenarios. From Havening Techniques to Reiki healing as well as CBT and hypnotherapy, a collective approach can overcome even the most complex of anxiety disorders.
What can I do at home to help with my anxiety?
To fully treat anxiety, you need the support of an online therapist to help you to understand the cause of the anxiety. For those with prolonged anxiety and anxiety disorders these may have developed into depression or have been symptomatic of the result of a trauma, therefore, we need to work closely on a multi-discipline therapy approach to ensure your anxiety will be fully treated.
As you work with your online therapist, journaling your thoughts, feelings and physical symptoms can be a valuable exercise to spot trends and to encourage your brain to become mindful of when your anxiety flares. As you develop the habit of spotting a perceived dangerous and stressful situation, you can then use the tools given to you as part of your recovery to manage these scenarios without the anxiety.