What is Adult Anxiety?

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adult anxiety

Shannyn Wilson Psychology is a boutique anxiety clinic in the heart of Kew, with a special interest in treating anxiety in children, adolescents, and adults. Head to our Home Page to find out more about our Clinic, or continue to read for some helpful tips on when to seek some additional support.

Adult Anxiety is an internal stress that is experienced as a collection of worries and fears, physical sensations, and behavioural responses. Anxiety is the body’s natural response to something we perceive as dangerous or threatening, and in small amounts it can be helpful as it often motivates us towards action, such as when we need to meet a work deadline, or to move away from something that is harmful.

Anxiety and nervousness may also be normal when we place a lot of importance on something, such as going to a job interview, or when doing something unfamiliar or for the first time. In these situations, anxious feelings are usually temporary, are proportionate to the event, and subside after the stressor passes or is removed.

However, when anxiety and worry is persistent and won’t go away, it may signal a problem with anxiety or an anxiety disorder. On-going anxiety can be exhausting and distressing, and can interfere with a person’s quality of life, health, and general well being.

It can sometimes be hard to see the warning signs of anxiety, however the earlier a problem with anxiety is identified, the more successful and effective treatment can be.

10 Common symptoms that may signal Adult Anxiety in an individual:

  1. Constantly feeling worried, apprehensive, or on edge
  2. Inability to relax, can’t switch off the mind
  3. Feelings of panic, heart palpitations
  4. Difficulties falling to sleep or staying asleep
  5. Avoiding everyday activities or situations because they cause anxiety
  6. Feeling more overwhelmed, helpless, or irritable than usual
  7. A compelling urge to clean, maintain order, exercise, work, or some other action
  8. Frequent headaches, sore stomach, or muscle tension, without any medical basis for symptoms
  9. Changes in appetite, including loss of appetite or overeating/comfort eating
  10. Worry or stress is interfering with a person’s ability to do their job, parenting responsibilities, or impacting on important relationships

Neuroscience research indicates that it is the interaction of our particular genes, our experiences in our environment, and exposure to stress early in life that can influence our vulnerability in developing problems with stress and anxiety later in life.

Understanding how these factors influence the architecture of the brain can significantly increase our ability to combat some of our unhelpful patterns and learn new, more empowering ways to deal with stresses in our lives.

Types of Anxiety

Anxiety symptoms can often be classified into different types of anxiety. The most common forms in adults include:

 Generalised Anxiety– Excessive worrying across a variety of situations, for more days than not
 Specific Phobia– Excessive worry, fear and avoidance of a particular feared object, place or situation, eg., phobia of dogs, heights
 Social Anxiety– Excessive fear and worry about social situations and the potential for being ridiculed or negatively judged. Avoidance of social occasions
 Panic Attacks– Brief episodes of intense fear, physiological distress, and panic in the body, often lasting a few minutes to half an hour
 Agoraphobia– A fear of being out in open spaces, social, or crowded places, and is often linked to fear of having a panic attack and not being able to escape to safety
 Post-traumatic stress– May develop after a person experiences or witnesses a significantly distressing situation. Symptoms can include anxiety, fear, flashbacks, and intrusive thoughts
 Separation Anxiety– Most common in children, however also occurs in adults. Significant distress and concern during periods of separation from someone whom the person is emotionally attached to.
 Obsessive Compulsive Behaviours– Having repetitive and persistent thoughts that are hard to control (obsessions), or the uncontrollable need to repeat specific actions such as washing hands or checking appliances are off (compulsions)

When should I seek professional help with an Adult Anxiety Psychologist?

Some important warning signs that anxiety may be a particular problem, is when anxiety is:

  • Persisting in intensity and duration (for more than 4 weeks)
  • Feeling out of control
  • Impairing a person’s ability to carry out their every day duties, and
  • Causing significant emotional distress

The good news is anxiety is very effectively treated with psychological counselling and education, and is often recommended as the first line of treatment.

Speaking to an experienced Psychologist can help you learn the underlying reasons for your anxiety, and assist you in developing your own effective coping tools to reduce and manage your symptoms. Treatment goals are often directed towards overcoming your anxiety, feeling more empowered, and bringing positive change to your lifestyle.

To find out more about booking an appointment with Shannyn, contact Reception Monday – Fridays 9am-5pm on 0422 868 056

Or return to our Services page to view list of Adult Anxiety presentations Shannyn treats.