I’m just stressed?!

Words from our Clinical Psychologist Natasha Herbert

It is often normal to feel a level of concern or worry regarding different aspects of life. For example, you might find yourself worrying about your family, friends, finances, career, or health at different times of your life, depending on the circumstances. Worrying or concern around these domains can be helpful if it facilitates effective problem solving, performance and/or relationship building. However, worry can become more sinister when it starts to become excessive, irrational, feels uncontrollable, interferes with your everyday functioning and persists for some time with no real resolution. It could be a sign that you are struggling with symptoms of generalised anxiety disorder, otherwise known as GAD.

GAD is the most common of the anxiety disorders and affects approximately 3% of the population each year. Typical symptoms of GAD include excessive worry across several life domains (e.g work, relationships, finances, etc), for more days than not, across a 6 month period or more. The individual finds it hard to control the worry and may experience other symptoms such as restlessness, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, irritability, muscle tension, and/or difficulties with sleep. They experience significant distress and/or impairment in functioning.

Now I am worrying about my worrying!!

If you feel you relate to the above, don’t worry (excuse the pun), as there are various treatment options which may help you manage your symptoms and improve your general functioning. The most effective psychological therapy for people with GAD is cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). This approach helps individuals understand the anxiety response and the factors maintaining their anxiety ‘cycle’. They learn how they can manage the thoughts, feelings and behaviours associated with it in more helpful ways. For example, individuals are taught how to identify and challenge their worry thoughts, address physiological symptoms through breathing and relaxation strategies, and learn how to deconstruct their worries and actively think through potential solutions through tasks such as structured problem solving. Emotion and mindfulness based interventions may also be used.

Some individuals also find benefit from medications such as antidepressants. However, reduction in symptoms appear to last only as long as the medications are taken. Your GP can provide more information on medications, and a wider treatment approach which includes psychological therapy addressing the core factors maintaining the worry and anxiety is optimal for more lasting insight and symptom management.

If you feel you’re struggling with Anxiety, book in with Natasha here!

More info here: https://thiswayup.org.au/how-do-you-feel/worried/