Stress can affect how you think, feel and behave and common signs are loss of appetite; sleeping problems; difficulty concentrating. Stress causes a surge of hormones in your body ready for your body to ‘fight or flight’. These hormones enable you to deal with short term pressures or threats and once these pressures or threats subside, your hormone levels return to normal. However if you are feeling constantly worried and your stress is prolonged these hormones will stay in your body leading to further problems. Recognising signs and symptoms will enable you to find ways to cope and manage stress more effectively, such as learning how to relax, taking regular exercise and adopting good time management.
Anxiety can affect us in different ways, feelings of anxiety can be temporary; short-lived and mild with clear identifiable causes. People are all different and may experience more anxiety than others. There are times we all feel anxious, sitting an exam; taking a driving test; having a Job interview and it is normal to feel a bit anxious in these circumstances but if anxiety is taking over your life it is time to address this. Finding ways of coping such as deep breathing; laughter; changes in your diet and lifestyle can all help when feeling anxious.
The death of someone close can be emotionally devastating and you may feel a range of physical and emotional symptoms as you come to terms with your loss. Feelings may include sadness; anger; anxiety; loneliness; shock; exhaustion; numbness and other indicators. Talking and sharing your feelings with someone who can give support and provide a space to talk about your feelings including the person who has died; your relationship; your family; your work; your fears and the future can help with the grieving process and give you some comfort.
In its mildest form depression can make you feel low but it doesn’t stop you leading a normal life. For people with moderate to severe depression everything is harder and seems less worthwhile. Symptoms of depression include tiredness; loss of self-confidence; feelings of helplessness and hopelessness; avoiding other people sometimes your close friends and family. Identifying your triggers can lead to understanding why you feel and react in certain ways and help you to manage it and seek support.
A panic attack occurs when your body experiences a rush of intense psychological and physical symptoms. You may feel an overwhelming sense of fear, apprehension and anxiety. Physical symptoms such as nausea; sweating; a sensation that you heart is beating irregularly (palpitations). Psychological therapies have been shown to help ease the symptoms.
Fear is a form of anxiety triggered by a situation or an object. A fear becomes a phobia when you have an exaggerated or unrealistic sense of danger about a situation (e.g. going outside) or an object (e.g. buttons). There are many specific phobias such as a fear of spiders or flying or complex phobias such as social anxiousness around people or agoraphobia, the fear of being in places or situations which may be difficult to escape or hard to cope with. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy has proven effective in dealing with phobias the behavioural element of CBT (exposure therapy) is recommended in giving you practice in facing your fears.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is an obsession that is an unwanted, unpleasant thought, image or urge that repeatedly enters a person’s mind causing them anxiety. Symptoms can range from mild to severe, the pattern has four main steps; obsession; anxiety; compulsion and temporary relief but the obsession returns again causing the cycle to begin. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) will identify tasks that will expose you to the situation that causes you anxiety but at a level that you are able to cope with breaking down the cycle.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a condition which can develop in response to experiencing a traumatic event that results in psychological trauma. Symptoms can be reliving aspects of the trauma; avoiding memories; being easily upset or angry. Each person needs to respond at their own pace, it is important to have an opportunity to talk to someone when you are ready to do so, however you should not be made to talk until you are ready because this can become a trauma in itself.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) can be categorised into two sets of behavioural problems, inattentiveness and hyperactivity. Symptoms range from being easily distracted; being unable to listen to or carry out instructions; constantly changing activity or task; being unable to sit still; little or no sense of danger and interrupting conversations. Talking therapy can help manage disruptive symptoms and by introducing coping skills provide a sense of self-worth and achievement.
Anger is a basic emotion which has allowed us to survive as a species and although it is a healthy emotion it is also the most complex. When experiencing anger a mixture of both emotional and physical changes happen and a surge of energy goes through the body releasing chemicals such as adrenaline. When anger is triggered, in right circumstances it can keep us alive but this emotion must be checked if anger is out of control. It is important to confront the problem and recognise how it makes you feel. Signs you have an anger issue are explosive outbursts that cannot be controlled; domestic violence and abusive behaviour; rages when driving or at work and depression which may represent introverted anger. Finding out what triggers anger and how it affects our close relationships is the first step to taking responsibility for our own actions and then controlling them. The goal of anger management is to reduce the feelings and arousal that anger creates and explore the underlying issues. Knowing how to recognise and express anger in the correct way can help individuals reach their goals; solve problems and handle emergencies.