What is Anxiety all about?
Mental health literature suggests that anxiety in its various forms is the most common reason that people seek help from mental health services
In my therapy practice people who present for counselling, anxiety is present in a clear majority of cases. So, what is anxiety? and what is its purpose? Anxiety is an integral part of the human person. It is ‘in’ us to protect us from danger. Anxiety is our radar and defence system. It can warn us of the presence of a threat or impending danger. It is part of our survival mechanism and it has been present in us since human beings first walked upon the earth. Surely this inbuilt ability to warn us of danger is a good thing and something to be acknowledged, so why then is it described in some mental health literature as a ‘disorder’? The problem then is, anxiety can show up even when there are no obvious signs of danger. That is when it becomes problematic. Anxiety is the ‘base’ emotion for several other conditions such as; OCD, panic attacks, agoraphobia, fear of heights etc. On a personal and individual basis anxiety can have devastating effect on the person who is experiencing it. When we feel anxious, we tend to avoid people, places and things, this behaviour of avoidance can become all-encompassing to the point where the person is unable to leave their home, because of the fear of having a ‘panic attack’.
Treatment for Anxiety