We develop anxiety for many different reasons. That's why a tailored, individual approach is the best way to address the underlying cause. Treatment options range from health coaching to psychotherapy and sleep training.
What is Anxiety and who is affected
Anxiety comes in many forms which can be as individual as the person affected. Whilst anxiety disorders can affect anyone, they are more common in women than in men. Depending on the type of anxiety, those between the age of 18 and 49 years were most affected.
People with generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) feel anxious and worried most of the time. Their worries are not necessarily related to stressful situations. Instead, anxiety is related to more than one aspect of their lives and interferes with day-to-day routines. Even small issues lead to uncontrollable worries.
Social phobias take a normal feeling of nervousness in social situations to an extreme. These anxieties can occur in the lead-up to a performance such as a speech in front of a large crowd. For others, social phobias are triggered by social interactions like having to make small-talk to a stranger.
Spiders, air travel, or other situations may trigger specific phobias in sufferers. Often, the person is well aware that their fear is irrational or exaggerated. However, their reaction is automatic, and they can’t control it in the moment. Specific phobias may even lead to panic attacks.
Anxiety is also associated with panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Causes of Anxiety
Anxiety develops over time and is often caused by several factors interacting with each other. Personality traits like low self-esteem combined with prolonged exposure to high levels of stress, a persistent lack of sleep and exercise can lead to anxiety. Interpersonal problems can also cause you to develop this disorder.
Physical health problems such as chronic illnesses are commonly associated with uncontrolled feelings of anxiety. A family history of mental health conditions could also predispose you to developing the condition.
Our ability to deal with normal levels of anxiety effectively depends on our autonomic nervous system (ANS). The ANS is made up of two parts: our sympathetic nervous system is responsible for the body’s emergency response. This is where our “fight or flight” reaction originates from.
The parasympathetic nervous system helps regulate the sympathetic response and allows you to calm down. Heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure all return to normal levels.
If we are persistently stressed, and our fight or flight response is consistently activated, it becomes harder for the parasympathetic nervous system to balance the reaction. The consequence is a state of ANS dysregulation, which leads to physical problems including trouble breathing, cardiac distress, and erectile dysfunction.
Here are common symptoms of GAD and social phobias to look out for:
Different types of psychotherapy have been proven to be effective in the treatment of anxiety disorders.
Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), as well as mindfulness-based techniques are beneficial in the recovery from severe anxiety and help you remain calm.
CBT allows you to identify negative patterns of thinking and behaving in order to change them. ACT focuses on training a person to accept unhelpful thoughts and committing to living a life of specific values. Mindfulness, on the other hand, teaches you to use awareness to respond to stress rather than instinct.
Health Coaching for Lifestyle Factors
A health coach can be your ideal partner when it comes to maintaining good mental and physical health. They can assist with diet, sleep, exercise, and other external or lifestyle factors which may contribute to negative symptoms. Our coaches work closely with neurocare neuroscientists and mental health experts to draw on a wide variety of assessment tools and methods as needed.
Neurofeedback to help Sleep
In some cases, negative, unmanageable symptoms of anxiety may be caused or exacerbated by a lack of sleep or a poor sleep routine, often due to work and performance pressures. The result is an overactive brain state. Our comprehensive assessment at neurocare clinics will clarify if that is what you are suffering from. If yes, we use a technique named Neurofeedback, an evidence-based brain training technique, to help retrain your brain. You will be able to fall asleep faster and stay asleep. Following a comprehensive assessment and a scientifically backed programme conducted at one of our neurocare clinics, clients have experienced improved sleep and all of its positive effects in the space of 6 - 12 weeks.
Assessment & Treatment Approach for Anxiety
We offer a personalised approach for clients experiencing anxiety, including the following steps:
- An in-depth one-on-one consultation with our expert team during your first appointment
- Sleep monitoring - a 7-day Actigraphy sleep assessment helps to see if your sleep hygiene may be causing some of your symptoms
- Brain mapping & cognitive assessment - a one-off assessment that allows us to take a closer look at your underlying brain activity via a quantitative electroencephalogram (QEEG). Plus, you will complete a full psychometric test. We offer further personalised assessments as required
Based on these insights, we recommended an individualised therapy programme targeting the symptoms of anxiety by getting to the underlying cause. This may be assisted by our health coaching or psychology team.