All of us feel anxious from time to time which is perfectly normal. Anxiety is a natural response to stress or fear that releases adrenaline in your body to prepare for action. This is commonly known as the ‘fight or flight’ response.
But in today’s modern world, a flight or fight response is very rarely needed. All of that pent-up adrenaline can lead to distressing feelings and even anxiety attacks. With so many of us coming into contact with high levels of stress every day, it’s not surprising that increasing numbers of people are struggling with anxiety and its effects.
The negative impact of anxiety
Anxiety becomes a problem when a person worries about an ever-growing list of things over an extended period of time. This can lead to various types of anxiety disorder such as Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) as well as phobias, panic and obsessive behaviours. There are several signs of anxiety including:
- An inability to enjoy the moment or find pleasure in everyday things as you’re plagued by worry and dread
- Feeling hopelessness
- Avoiding social situations in case they are stressful
- Headaches, nausea, weight loss or gain, tense muscles
- Panic attacks
- Tiredness and difficulty getting to sleep/staying asleep
Your emotions may feel out of control and feeling impatient, irritable, afraid and tearful are all common in people living with anxiety. Anxiety can begin to have a serious impact on your life as you avoid everything that makes you nervous and you may find yourself turning to alcohol for relief from the symptoms.
The different types of anxiety
Anxiety is a broad umbrella term for many disorders and phobias and manifests itself in different ways from one person to the next. The main types of anxiety include:
- Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is a long-term condition where a person feels anxious about a wide range of situations and issues, rather than one specific event. The list of worries could include quite minor things such as housework. The anxiety is uncontrollable and affects daily life including work and family.
- Panic disorder is a condition characterised by recurring, regular panic attacks. Panic attacks can be very frightening as they can happen suddenly without obvious reason. Physical symptoms are usually intense and include palpitations, sweating, shaking, nausea, shortness of breath and dizziness. It’s common for a person going through a panic attack to suspect they they’re having a heart attack. They can last for 5 to 20 minutes.
- Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) causes repetitive unwanted thoughts or urges that are often related to safety and cleanliness. They feel impossible to control and can be time consuming and isolating.
- Social anxiety disorder is a debilitating fear of other people thinking badly of you. It can affect a person’s social life and make it difficult to form real friendships and relationships.
- Specific phobia involves fear of specific things such as snakes or spiders. It’s very common but can have a negative impact on someone’s life in more extreme cases.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder is an anxiety disorder caused by frightening, traumatic or stressful events in the past (such as a car crash or natural disaster). People living with this disorder may have flashbacks about the event or feel guilty and isolated. Insomnia is also common.
Treating anxiety with care and compassion in Spain
At Step One Recovery, we’ve helped many clients overcome anxiety disorder and build confidence to live a happier, more positive life. Our rehab and recovery centre is based near Alicante on Spain’s beautiful Costa Blanca coastline (not far from Costa Brava and Costa del Sol). It’s the perfect sanctuary to focus on getting better and remove yourself from everyday fears, worries and concerns.
We’ll develop a treatment programme designed specifically for you including psychotherapy, practices such as yoga and mindfulness, nutrition and exercise. We believe in treating your anxiety holistically (rather than providing a quick fix). Therapy, relaxation techniques and medical support (when needed) will give you the tools to cope throughout recovery and beyond.
The very nature of anxiety means that fear and worry can prevent you from getting the help you need. But you are not alone – speak to us today for non-judgemental care that really makes the difference.