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Do I Have Social Anxiety?

The pounding heart when asked to make a work presentation, feeling sick when you need to eat in front of others, blushing when everyone is focussing on you, being terrified of saying something stupid or even having a panic attack at the thought of being in a crowd.

These thoughts and feelings are surprisingly common when faced with social situations, but for people who suffer with social anxiety disorder, they can become totally debilitating and lead to avoidance of any and all social situations.

 

What is Social Anxiety?

Social anxiety disorder (or social phobia) is best described as an extreme fear of doing something that may be embarrassing or humiliating and being judged or negatively evaluated by other people. This fear can be restricted to specific situations, or generalised to most situations. Where the fear is specific, the result tends to be avoidance of that particular situation, but when the fear is general, it can sometimes result in almost complete social isolation.

Some common social phobias include:

  • Eating or drinking in public
  • Being in crowds
  • Speaking in public
  • Writing in the presence of others
  • Participating in meetings or group settings
  • Using public toilets

 

How can I tell if I have Social Anxiety?

Most people who struggle with social anxiety disorder are totally aware that their feelings of anxiety are out of proportion to the event itself, but still, suffer distress when exposed to the feared situation.

Some common symptoms of social anxiety include:

  • Blushing
  • Sweating
  • Trembling
  • Heart palpitations
  • Nausea
  • Panic attacks

 

How common is Social Anxiety?

psychologist counselling anxietySocial Anxiety is one of the most common anxiety disorders, and affects approximately 8% of the population across their lifetime. Equally common among women and men, social anxiety typically starts in late childhood or early adolescence and is ongoing without treatment, although the levels of severity and impairment can fluctuate over time.

A sad twist with social anxiety disorder is that symptoms of the disorder itself, such as embarrassment, often stop people seeking help, with the average delay between onset and treatment estimated to be 14 years. The good news, however, is that social anxiety tends to respond very well to treatment, and quite often in a relatively short amount of time.

 

What are the Treatment Options?

If you suffer anxiety or panic symptoms, it is important that you see a Doctor to rule out a medical condition. Some drugs and supplements can cause anxiety, so it’s best that you let them know about any prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, herbal remedies or recreational drugs that you might be taking. If a medical cause is ruled out, the next step is to see a psychologist who has experience treating anxiety and panic disorders.

The specific treatment approach will depend on the severity of the social anxiety, whether it is general or specific, and whether it is occurring in tandem with any other depressive or anxiety disorders. It is very common for social anxiety to be partnered with other anxiety disorders, depression and even substance abuse, so it is important to have an understanding of exactly what is going on. In general though, social anxiety is usually treated with relaxation therapy, cognitive-behavioural techniques, exposure therapy, social skills training, assertiveness training and occasionally, medication.

As with any anxiety disorder, social anxiety have been found to respond very well to treatment, but the best results are found when people are motivated and willing to make a change to their lifestyle.

  • Some changes that have been found to reduce the intensity of social anxiety include:
  • Utilising deep relaxation techniques, such as meditation or muscle relaxation
  • Regular Exercise
  • Cutting back on stimulants, such as coffee and alcohol
  • Learning to acknowledge and express your feelings, rather than ignoring them
  • Using positive self-talk to create a calmer and more accepting attitude

 

How can we help with Social Anxiety?

At the core of social anxiety is the fear of being negatively judged by other people. The key to treatment, then, is to learn to control the anxiety and accept that, even if mistakes are made because of the anxiety, you will not be judged adversely by friends or colleagues.

When you come in, your Psychologist will try to gain an understanding from you about how you are feeling and thinking, and what is happening in your life. You will most likely be asked to do some simple tests, and these will help to assess the severity of your social anxiety and whether you are suffering any other symptoms of anxiety or depression.

You will also be asked questions to uncover what might be the causes and stressors in your life, and your Psychologist will work with you to devise a treatment plan that will suit you and your lifestyle.

After your initial session, you will have some insight into what the problem is, a plan for therapy for the future, and some initial strategies to help get you started.

 

If you would like to book an appointment with one of our experienced, caring Anxiety psychologists, please contact us. We have clinics nationally across Australia, including Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra and Adelaide, plus many more; so it's likely we'll have one handy to you.

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Do I Have Agoraphobia?

Do you struggle to leave the house without a friend? Are you frightened of what might happen if you get stuck on a busy train or in an elevator on your own? Do you feel a sense of panic at the thought of being left alone or in a large crowd of people? Do you do everything in your power to avoid these situations?  If so, it is possible you may be suffering from Agoraphobia.

 

What is Agoraphobia?

At its simplest, Agoraphobia is a fear of experiencing a panic attack. A known complication of Panic Disorder, Agoraphobia can be described as the anxiety associated with being in a particular situation or place from which escape may be difficult or help may be hard to access if a panic attack does occur. Commonly known as a fear of open spaces, Agoraphobia is actually much wider reaching, and can lead to avoidance of any feared situation, including being alone at home or away from home, being in crowded areas, including shopping centres and even buses, trains and plains, or even being in an elevator or an a bridge.

 

agoraphobiaHow can I tell if I have Agoraphobia?

Agoraphobia is characterised by anxiety or fear about being in places or situations where a panic attack might occur. As with panic attacks and panic disorder, no two people will experience Agoraphobia in the same way. In order to avoid the anxiety, people suffering from Agoraphobia may completely avoid the situation, only enter the situation or place with a companion, or reluctantly endure the situation under duress and with extreme anxiety.

 

How common is Agoraphobia?

Approximately 2% of the population will experience Agoraphobia in any given year. Agoraphobia tends to be more common in females, and will usually start in their mid to late twenties.

If left untreated, agoraphobia can become a chronic and disabling disorder that can significantly interfere with an individual’s work and social functioning. Like other anxiety disorders, however, agoraphobia responds very well to treatment and successful recovery is seen with a variety of treatment programmes.

 

What are the Treatment Options?

Because Agoraphobia is based on a fear of panic attacks, similar treatments to those of panic disorder and panic attacks are used.

As always, it is important to consult a Doctor to rule out a medical condition if you suffer anxiety or panic symptoms. Some drugs and supplements can cause anxiety, so it’s best that you let them know about any prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, agoraphobiaherbal remedies or recreational drugs that you might be taking. If a medical cause is ruled out, the next step is to see a psychologist who has experience treating anxiety and panic disorders, and more specifically, Agoraphobia.

The specific treatment approach will depend on the severity of the panic attacks, and whether they are happening in tandem with any other depressive or anxiety disorders. Treatment options for Agoraphobia tend to include exposure therapy, cognitive therapy, assertiveness training, group therapy and medication. As with anxiety, panic disorders and panic attacks, Agoraphobia has been found to respond very well to treatment, but the best results are found when people are motivated and willing to make a change to their lifestyle.

Some changes that have been found to reduce the intensity of attacks include:

  • Utilising deep relaxation techniques, such as meditation or muscle relaxation
  • Regular exercise
  • Cutting back on stimulants, such as coffee and alcohol
  • Learning to acknowledge and express your feelings, rather than ignoring them
  • Using positive self-talk to create a calmer and more accepting attitude

 

How can we help with Agoraphobia?

At the core of Agoraphobia is the fear of panic attacks, which themselves are a biological fear response. The key to treatment is to develop strategies that help remove this fear so that the attacks no longer have the power to frighten you.

When you come in, your Psychologist will firstly make sure you feel comfortable and supported. They will then gain an understanding from you about how you are feeling and thinking, and what is happening in your life. You will most likely be asked to do some simple tests, and these will help to assess the severity of your Agoraphobia and associated panic attacks, and whether you are suffering any other symptoms of anxiety or depression.

You will also be asked questions to uncover what might be the causes and stressors in your life, and your Psychologist will work with you to devise a treatment plan that will suit you and your lifestyle.

After your initial session, you will have some insight into what the problem is, a plan for therapy for the future, and some initial strategies to help get you started.

 

If you're concerned about the possibility you may be suffering from Agoraphobia, Anxiety or Depression and would like to see one of our experienced psychologists, contact us today.

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What is a Generalised Anxiety Disorder?

You’re worried.....

Constantly and without relief, your mind just can’t stop contemplating the ‘what if’s?’

What if the kids get sick? What if your partner has an accident? Do we have enough money to pay the bills? Am I doing enough at work? Do I fit in with my friends? What am I doing with my life? It never ends, and it’s exhausting.

In our busy world, it is totally normal to experience a certain amount of anxiety and stress, and in some instances, it can actually be a positive thing! But when it persists, and that worry and stress become a constant weight on your shoulders, it’s possible that your anxiety may have moved into disordered territory.

What is Generalised Anxiety Disorder?

Generalised Anxiety Disorder is marked by constant worry and stress about life’s circumstances that persists for a majority of days over a 6 month period, but without any other anxiety disorders such as panic attacks, phobias or obsessions.

People struggling with generalised anxiety disorder tend to focus on two or more specific worries, which commonly include money, relationships, health and work or school/work performance, and have difficulty exercising control over these worries.

The intensity and frequency of the stress and worry are almost always totally out of proportion to the actual likelihood that the feared events will even happen, and can become limiting and interfere with basic functioning when left unchecked.anxiety

How can I tell if I have Generalised Anxiety Disorder?

There are a variety of symptoms associated with Generalised Anxiety Disorder, and no two people will experience it in exactly the same way. For generalised anxiety disorder to be occurring, symptoms of worry, physical tension and high arousal must be present for most days over a period of 6 months.

These might include:

- Nervousness or restlessness
- Trembling
- Difficulty falling or staying asleep
- Sweating
- Poor concentration
- Heart palpitations
- Frequent urination
- Muscle tension
- Easily fatigued
- Irritable or depressed mood
- Light headed or dizziness
- Constant state of “high alert”
- Shortness of breath

The constant state of stress that occurs with anxiety can also result in other physical illness, such as headaches, high blood pressure, insomnia, irritable bowel syndrome and even osteoporosis.

How common is Generalised Anxiety Disorder?

It is estimated that 14% of all Australians experience Anxiety in any given year, but only 6% of the population will experience Generalised Anxiety Disorder across their lifetime. This tends to be more common in women and can develop at any age.

Children and adolescents tend to worry about school or sports performance, and adults commonly worry about work, money and health.

Despite their prevalence, anxiety disorders respond very well and often quite quickly to treatment, so it’s not worth continuing to suffer (and worry!) in silence.

What are the Treatment Options?

If you suffer anxiety symptoms, it is important that you see a Doctor to rule out a medical condition. Some drugs and supplements can cause anxiety, so it’s best that you let them know about any prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, herbal remedies or recreational drugs that you might be taking. If a medical cause is ruled out, the next step is to see a psychologist who has experience treating anxiety disorders.

anxiety disorderThe specific treatment approach will depend on the severity of your anxiety symptoms, and whether they are happening in tandem with any other depressive or anxiety disorders.

Generalised anxiety disorder often occurs in conjunction with depression, so it’s important that you share this in order to find the right treatment for you.

In general though, anxiety disorders are usually treated with behavioural therapy, medication, or a combination of the two.

As with depression, anxiety disorders have been found to respond very well to treatment, but the best results are found when people are motivated and willing to make a change to their lifestyle.

Some changes that have been found to reduce the intensity of anxiety include:

- Utilising deep relaxation techniques, such as meditation or muscle relaxation
- Regular Exercise
- Cutting back on stimulants, such as coffee and alcohol, and sugar
- Increasing downtime
- Learning to acknowledge and express your feelings, rather than ignoring them
- Using positive self-talk to create a calmer and more accepting attitude

How can we help with Generalised Anxiety Disorder?

At the core of anxiety is worry, and the key to treatment is to make sure you have the tools you need to appropriately deal with that worry before it becomes more than it needs to be.

When you come in, your Psychologist will gain an understanding from you about how you are feeling and thinking, and what is happening in your life. You will most likely be asked to do some simple tests, and these will help to assess the severity of your anxiety, and whether you are suffering any other symptoms of anxiety or depression.

You will also be asked questions to uncover what might be the causes and stressors in your life, and your Psychologist will work with you to devise a treatment plan that will suit you and your lifestyle.

After your initial session, you will have some insight into what the problem is, a plan for therapy for the future, and some initial strategies to help get you started.

Our Hart Psychologists specialise in all types of Anxiety and know how to help. We have specialist Psychologists in all capital and most regional cities. Phone our friendly receptionists for more information and to help you find the right Psychologist for you. Phone 1300830552.

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Do I Have a Panic Disorder?

Many of us have experienced it.

Your heart is beating a million miles an hour, hands are shaking, you can’t catch your breath, that feeling of sickness keeps rising, the walls are closing in and the room starts to blur. It’s happening - you’re having a panic attack.

For some, these attacks occur in response to a known fear, such as spiders or speaking in public, but for others, a panic attack can occur at any time, on any day and in any situation, and these people are more likely to be struggling with Panic Disorder.

For those suffering with Panic Disorder, it’s not just the panic attacks themselves that cause distress, but the constant worry about the fall-out or consequences from the attacks.

Quite often the fear of losing control, of humiliation or simply that you might be ‘losing it’ is more distressing than the panic attacks themselves. As a result, panic disorder can quite often lead to depression and other anxiety disorders, such as agoraphobia in more severe cases.

It is so important to know that panic attacks and panic disorder respond very well to treatment, and there is no need to continue to suffer through it.

What is a Panic Attack?

Panic Attacks and Panic Disorder are part of the Anxiety family, which tends to be characterised by constant worry and stress about the ‘what if’s?’ in life. Some anxiety can be positive, both as a survival mechanism and a motivator, but at its extreme, high levels of anxiety can be hugely limiting and even interfere with basic functioning.panic attack

A panic attack is a reaction to fear, which is a normal biological response to threat. When we are presented with a threatening stimulus, our sympathetic nervous system kicks in and starts pumping adrenaline around our body to trigger a fight, flight or freeze response in order to protect ourselves.

The problem with a panic attack though is that the fear response is triggered without a life threatening danger actually being present, and consequently, there is nowhere for that built up energy to go.

This results in an extremely uncomfortable and distressing experience that can come on suddenly and last anywhere between a few minutes and up to half an hour.

How can I tell if I’m having a Panic Attack?

No two panic attacks are the same, but they always include a combination of physiological and psychological symptoms.

These can include:

- Shortness of breath
- Dizziness / light-headedness
- Tightness in the chest
- Faintness
- Trembling / shaking
- Dry mouth
- Tight muscles
- Racing heart
- Pins & Needles in fingers or feet
- A choking or smothering feeling
- Sweating
- Hot or cold flushes
- Nausea
- Blurred vision
- Feelings of unreality, or separation from yourself
- Difficulty gathering thoughts or speaking
- Powerful urge to flee or run away
- Fear of dying, losing control or going mad

How common is a Panic Disorder?

Approximately 20% of the population will experience a Panic Attack in their lifetime, but only 2% will deal with Panic Disorder. Panic Disorder is more frequent in females, and will usually start in their mid-twenties.

The good news is that anxiety disorders, including panic, respond very well to treatment, and quite often in a relatively short amount of time.

Treatment Options:

panicIf you suffer anxiety or panic symptoms, it is important that you see a Doctor to rule out a medical condition. Some drugs and supplements can cause anxiety, so it’s best that you let them know about any prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, herbal remedies or recreational drugs that you might be taking. If a medical cause is ruled out, the next step is to see a psychologist who has experience treating anxiety and panic disorders.

The specific treatment approach will depend on the severity of the panic attacks, and whether they are happening in tandem with any other depressive or anxiety disorders.

In general though, anxiety disorders are usually treated with cognitive behavioural therapy, medication, or a combination of the two.

As with anxiety, panic disorders and panic attacks have been found to respond very well to treatment, but the best results are found when people are motivated and willing to make a change to your lifestyle. Some changes that have been found to reduce the intensity of attacks include:

- Utilising deep relaxation techniques, such as meditation or muscle relaxation
- Regular Exercise
- Learning to acknowledge and express your feelings, rather than ignoring them
- Using positive self-talk to create a calmer and more accepting attitude
- Cutting back on stimulants, such as coffee and alcohol

How can a Psychologist help with your Panic Disorder?

The core of any panic attack is that biological fear response, so the key to treatment is to develop strategies that help remove the fear so that the attacks no longer have the power to frighten you.
When you come in, your Psychologist will gain an understanding from you about how you are feeling and thinking, and what is happening in your life. You will usually be asked to do some simple tests, and these will help to assess the severity of your panic attacks, and whether you are suffering any other symptoms of anxiety or depression.

You will also be asked what might be the causes and stressors in your life, and your Psychologist will work with you to devise a treatment plan that will suit you and your lifestyle.
After your initial session, you will have some insight into what the problem is, a plan for therapy for the future, and some initial strategies to help get you started.

We have experienced and caring Psychologists in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, and regional cities across Australia. Phone our friendly receptionists on 1300830552  for more information and to help you choose which Psychologist might be best for you.

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How Do I Know If I Have ANXIETY?

Who hasn't felt uncomfortable and anxious in situations such as a first date, an interview or a personal confrontation?

In these occasional situations, feeling anxious  is quite is normal.

But if your worries and fears start appearing in every-day situations, or seemingly for no reason at all, you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder.

Anxiety is a serious condition that makes it hard for a person to cope with daily life.

The term Anxiety has become more used lately in the general public, with more people than ever acknowledging they are feeling these feelings.

But what is anxiety?  How much anxiety is considered normal? And how do you know when it gets to a stage you need to seek help?

Understanding Anxiety

Anxiety in its natural form is a natural human response to danger or fear. It helps us get out of the way of harm and prepare us for important events, and it also warns us when we need to take action in a particular situation.

However, some people can experience anxiety that is persistent, seemingly uncontrollable, and overwhelming for them.

If you’re experiencing an excessive, irrational fear of everyday situations, it can be debilitating.

When your anxiety interferes with your everyday activities and life, you may have an anxiety disorder.

Do you have any symptoms of Anxiety?

To better look at if you’re suffering from an anxiety disorder, here is a list of symptoms to be on the look-out for.

In your general life:

  • Do you believe that something bad will happen if certain things aren’t done a certain way?
  • Do you feel like danger and catastrophe are always there?
  • Are you constantly tense, worried, or on-edge?
  • Do you find yourself experiencing sudden, unexpected attacks of heart-pounding panic?
  • Does your anxiety interfere with your work, school, or family responsibilities?
  • Are you plagued by fears that you know are irrational, but you can’t seem to do anything about?
  • Do you avoid some situations or activities because you feel too anxious?

Emotional symptoms:

  • Feelings of apprehension or dread
  • Trouble concentrating on something at hand
  • Feeling tense and jumpy
  • Anticipating the worst
  • Feeling irritable
  • Feeling restless
  • Often watching for signs of danger
  • Feeling like your mind’s gone blankanxiety problem

 Physical symptoms:

  • Pounding heart
  • Sweating
  • Stomach upset or dizziness
  • Frequent urinating or diarrhoea
  • Shortness of breath, without exercise
  • Tremors and twitches
  • Noticeable muscle tension
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia

Please check our Anxiety Quiz for a better guide about whether and how you might be suffering Anxiety, and our Anxiety counselling page.

The link with Depression

 Unfortunately, two of the most common disorders in the world are anxiety and depression.

It's very common to suffer from both anxiety and depression at the same time, especially if you have severe anxiety or panic disorder. However, it is important to note that Anxiety and depression are different, although quite often linked.

Click here for more information on combinations of anxiety and depression.

Anxiety has a lot of energy and is characterised by fear. It creates a feeling of discomfort and concern about what could happen in future.

Depression, on the other hand, doesn't have that fear. Depression centres around the idea that life is already bad, with less hope about getting better. It's less worried about the future because it involves less hope.

Both involve a considerable amount of negative thinking. While those with anxiety tend to fear the future and those with depression see the future as more hopeless, both believe that the worst is likely to happen.

The Types of Anxiety:

  •  Generalised Anxiety Disorders:
    People with Generalised Anxiety Disorders feel constantly on edge, like something bad is always about to happen.
     
  • Panic Attacks:
    A panic attack is a sudden rush of stress and emotion around a certain situation, as well as fear that it will happen again. Panic attacks can be debilitating and are often accompanied by an increased heart rate, shortness of breath, trembling and muscle tension. 
  • Phobias:
    A phobia is an unrealistic or exaggerated fear of a specific object, activity, or situation that in reality presents little to no danger.  
  • Social Anxiety:
    Often referred to as extreme shyness, social anxiety is the debilitating fear of being seen negatively, judged or humiliated by others in public.
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD):
    PTSD is an extreme anxiety disorder that often occurs after a traumatic situation or life-threatening circumstance. It is often experienced as a panic attack that never goes away.

 problem with anxiety

When to see a Psychologist

One of the great things about both anxiety and depression, however, is that they're both very treatable

If you’re experiencing a lot of physical anxiety symptoms, check with your Doctor. He is she will ascertain if your anxiety is caused by a medical condition. Since certain drugs and supplements can cause anxiety, your doctor will also want to know about any prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, herbal remedies, and recreational drugs you’re taking.

If your doctor rules out a medical cause, the next step is to consult with a psychologist who has experience treating anxiety attacks and anxiety disorders. The psychologist will work with you to determine the cause and type of your anxiety disorder and devise a course of treatment.

Anxiety disorders do respond very well to psychological treatment—and often in a relatively short amount of time.

The specific treatment approach depends on the type of anxiety disorder and its severity. But in general, most anxiety disorders are treated with behavioural therapy, medication, or some combination of the two.

At Hart Psychologists, we have Psychologists around Australia who can help you overcome your Anxiety. Call our friendly receptionists on 1300830552 or check our Search bar on the header to find the closest and right one for you. We have Psychologists to help you in all capital cities and more: Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Canberra, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast.

We look forward to helping you become healthier and happier in yourself.

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3 years ago Anxiety , Depression

Do I Have a Combination of Anxiety and Depression?

Although in the DSM5, Psychologists and Psychiatrists consider that Anxiety and Depression are 2 very different conditions,  in actuality, we find that many people are suffering from a combination of both of these. And even when we notice that there is a combination, there are many variations on the types of combinations.

A US Psychologist, Margaret Wehrenberg, has identified 7 different combinations. If you feel that you are both anxious and depressed at times, perhaps you can see what type of combination might best describe you:

1. Low Energy

This combination is the closest to pure depression.

Here is a checklist of the main characteristics:

o Lethargy. You may continue to work but you complain about fatigue even when you exert yourself very little, and you spend many nonworking hours napping, lying around, watching TV, or not doing very much.

o Oversleeping. Sleep may be excessive and you don’t feel refreshed after it.

o Loss of interest. You tend not to have many hobbies.

o Not much involvement with others (though not necessarily isolation). You may keep up your required family activities or maintain minimal contact with your friends, but you very rarely initiate any contact with them.

o Rarely answer your phone or return messages.

o Overeating. You may be overweight, as eating is one of the few pleasures you have.

o Rumination. You often feel anxious and preoccupied with what will happen, what has gone wrong, what to do, and what cannot be changed.

2. Anxious & Hopeless

You feel sad, negative and worried, and hopeless to be able to change.

Here are the main characteristics:

o Persistent worry. You notice your anxiety more than your depression, because your worry about everyday life situations doesn’t seem to go away, no matter what you do.

o Hopeless attitude and negative expectations. You may hold some small hope that things could improve, but your overall view of life is pessimistic and you don’t expect your efforts to make a difference.

o Sense of duty or heightened responsibility. You meet your work responsibilities and perform with strong sense of duty, but you are rarely enthusiastic or energetic.

o Restrained anger. You tend not to express your anger openly and may be passive aggressive if you are afraid of losing a relationship if you were to speak up.

o External locus of control. You are moody and worried about choices you make, but you perceive that most decisions are made because of other people’s needs.

o Difficulty describing the quality of one’s overall emotional and physical state. You have trouble describing what emotions you feel, other than to know you’re feeling “bad”.

 

depressed amxious man3. Panicky & Depressed

You feel panicky, but may not be aware that you are also depressed.

The following checklist indicates the main characteristics:

o Mild to moderate depression symptoms. You may not be aware that you are depressed.

o Passive personality. This may mask your depression as you are naturally less socially involved and talk less about emotions than the average person.

o Introversion. Even though you may be socially capable, you get exhausted by too much “other people time” and by work meetings.

o Panic attacks are initially triggered in you by unexpected situational stress. The first panic attack usually occurs in the wake of a sudden loss, a difficult situation at work, or an unexpected health problem.

o Panic following overreaction to stress. This leads you to bad decisions about life problems and hasty reactions while panicky.

o Less participation in previously enjoyed activities to avoid panic. You usually initially withdraw from life to avoid panic, so then you have fewer fun and joyful experiences, which leads to you feeling depressed.

o Difficulty accomplishing work or personal goals due to panic. You may have begun to avoid situations that might cause panic, which interferes with your work and personal life.

o Pessimism. You feel negative about how things will turn out, and about being able to overcome your anxiety and stress.

4. Worried & Exhausted

You try to keep up with daily living requirements but are increasingly fearful of failing to perform in the future. You feel stressed and overtaxed.

Here’s the checklist which indicates the main characteristics:

  • “Stressed out” emotionally and physically.
  • Persistent, ruminative worry about many things.
  • Ability to manage real and immediate problems without worry. You actually can manage problems when you put your mind to it.
  • Insufficient or nonrestorative sleep.
  • Exhaustion.
  • Extensive efforts to solve problems: You are highly responsible in general, and will increase your work to solve problems, which often worsens your exhaustion.
  • Rigid approaches to problem-solving. You can get stuck in thinking and deciding what actions need to be taken, often feeling like you are the only person who can do the job.
  • Poor problem-solving for anxiety and depression, but otherwise a good trouble shooter.
  • Blindness to the severity of the situation. You can just soldier on, and not perceive the problem to be as extreme as it actually is.

 

5. Quiet Avoider

You have been born with a shy and sensitive temperament. Although you might look like a LOW ENERGY person, it is social anxiety that dominates your life.

avoidant anxious

The following checklist indicates the main characteristics:

o Social anxiety or separation anxiety. These show up early in life and dominate your experiences.

O  Low tolerance for sensations of anxiety. Feeling anxious feels very uncomfortable for me.

o Somber, passive temperament. Nothing gives you a “kick out of life” and this makes you feel depressed.

o Persistent depression, periodic anxiety. Your depression feels like it is unremitting, but your anxiety may come and go.

o Avoidance of opportunities to advance or fulfill potential. Your social anxiety deters you from taking the risks involved in to pursue opportunities to reach your full potential.

o Social reluctance in unfamiliar situations. You may have warm relationships with your family and close friends but withdraw from social interaction in unfamiliar situations.

o Dependence on loved ones. You may feel dependent on your parent, partner, or close friend for help in leaving your comfort zone.

o Introversion. Even if you are socially competent, you are introverted.

o Need for “ down time.” You usually need time to recharge after being in high-stimulation environments or engaged with people for long periods of time.

6. High Energy & Depressed

You have a high activity level and often feel anxious, but don’t feel your depression.

Here is the checklist:

o High anxiety when your activity level is interrupted. You attempt at all times to keep yourself busy, and in cases when you can’t, you will start to feel anxious.

o Lifestyle marked by high levels of activity and productivity. You cope with your stress by being always on the go and getting things done. It is very difficult to stop and relax.

o History of trauma. You may have suffered one or more past traumas.

o Tension-related physical problems. Your anxiety may manifest as headache, muscle pain, stomach or digestive problems, or insomnia.

o Perfectionism. You have a strong fear of making mistakes or not doing things exceedingly well, and this drives most of your anxiety.

o Rumination. There is a strong ruminative quality to your anxiety.

o Underlying negative emotional states. You often don’t really notice these while you are keeping yourself very busy.

o Underlying depression. This is masked by your energy and shows up mostly in pessimism about life.

stressed depressed

7. High Anxiety

Your high anxiety is unremitting, significantly impairing the quality of your life. The longer it persists, the more likely it is to create a state of depression.

The following checklist shows you the main characteristics:

o Dread felt in the gut. You physically feel a persistent state of anxiety in your gut.

o “Serial” worrying. You actively looks for external “causes” of your anxiety and attempt to eliminate them, only to find that the anxiety returns.

o Worsening anxiety. Good days without anxiety become less frequent over time.

o Absence of pleasure and joy in life. This is not because you are not capable of feeling pleasure or joy, but rather because your high anxiety interferes with experiencing these feelings.

o Depression resulting from anxiety. Your anxiety eventually leads to depression.

o High-level functioning. You typically continue to perform work functions well.

o Tendency to be controlling and critical of others. You may try to allay your anxiety by pushing your ideas about how to behave or do work onto other people.

o Tendency to be excessively apologetic. In addition to (or instead of) being controlling and critical, you may be excessively apologetic as you frets over whether things are being done correctly.

o Feelings of “absence.” Because of the anxiety, you may be unable to feel engaged in the present.

o Increased anxiety during significant life transitions. It is harder for you to adjust to new life circumstances that the average person.

o Irritability, impatience, and strained relationships. You find yourself becoming easily irritable and impatient with things and other people.

 

If you find that any of these combinations feels like you, we at Hart Psychologists can help. We have Psychologists Australia wide, so one is near you. Please ring our friendly receptionists and we'll help you find the best Psychologist for you. Phone 1300830552.

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Do I Have An Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?

We all have unwanted thoughts from time to time, but mostly we can chose to not pay attention to them and move on.

However, for people with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) unwanted negative thoughts can be constant and start to take control of their lives.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is  type of anxiety disorder that affects two to three percent of the population. While that seems like a relatively small percentage, in reality, more than 500,000 Australians suffer from OCD.

People with OCD experience recurrent and persistent thoughts, images or impulses that are intrusive and unwanted (these are categorised as obsessions). They also perform repetitive and ritualistic actions that are excessive, time-consuming and distressing (these are categorised as compulsions).

Many people with OCD experience intense fear of something horrible happening to themselves or others. Due to this, they frequently seek reassurance from others and have constant doubts about their behaviour and feelings .

Prior to identification and treatment of the disorder, families can become deeply involved in the sufferer's rituals. OCD usually begins to appear in late childhood or early adolescence.

OCD is a distressing and debilitating condition, which can often be chronic and deteriorate without appropriate treatment and support. It can be compounded by depression, and other anxiety conditions including social anxiety, panic disorder and separation anxiety.

Sufferers are usually aware of the irrational and excessive nature of their obsessions and compulsions. However, they feel unable to control their obsessions or resist their compulsions.

obsessive compulsive disorder

What are the OCD symptoms?

Obsessions and compulsions are distressing, exhausting, take up a lot of time, and can significantly interfere with the person's family and social relationships, daily routines, education or working life.

Common obsessions include: fear or contamination from germs, dirt, for example; fears of harm to self or others; intrusive sexual thoughts or images; concerns with symmetry, illness or religious issues; an intense, irrational fear of everyday objects and situations (phobia).

Common compulsions include: excessive washing; cleaning; checking; hoarding; touching; counting; and repeating routine activities and actions.

Diagnosis of OCD

Obsessive-compulsive disorder symptoms can feel embarrassing or shameful for the person suffering. For this reason, OCD can go undiagnosed for much too long, during which time compulsive behaviour can become ingrained and damaging. This may mean adults become housebound or children cannot attend school.

The first step towards help is seeing a doctor or psychologist who can recognise the symptoms.

Health professionals need to distinguish between other similar mental health issues such as depression, schizophrenia, and anxiety disorders. Beginning the assessment process is a positive step towards recovery.

What are the treatments for OCD?

OCD can be successfully treated, enabling you to live happier, more fulfilling lives. Treatment will help you manage your intrusive obsessions and compulsions. It may not cure your OCD (which can be lifelong) but it can help you control symptoms and stop them ruling your life. The best results may come from a combination of treatments.

Some tools for helping to manage OCD are:

  • Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT): By working with your psychologist, you can learn new and more positive ways to cope with symptoms. You are gently encouraged to resist doing your compulsive behaviours and find other means of reducing your anxiety. Over time, this causes the symptoms to reduce. This is the most common form of treatment.
  • Exercise: Gentle to moderate exercise can increase your fitness and mental health.
  • Relaxation techniques: Becoming aware of your breathing and actively trying to slow it down when it's required.
  • Medication: Antidepressants are used for the treatment of OCD in Australia and can be very effective. They can assist the brain restore a normal chemical balance.
  • Community support: OCD can be an isolating disorder. People with OCD and their families can benefit from support groups, where people share coping strategies and develop a support network. Family therapy may also be helpful. Community support and connection can play a vital role in rebuilding lives.

 

If you think you might have OCD, please contact our friendly receptionists on 1300830552 and they will be able to find you the right Psychologist for you. We have specialist Psychologists in every capital city around Australia, so we most likely have one near you.

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