21-year-old Emma Campbell has been living with chronic anxiety ever since she can remember. As a child it was her family and school work that kept her up all night, resulting in her suffering from panic attacks at the age of seven.
Campbell received therapy as a teenager which relieved her symptoms for a while, however anxiety set in once again when she left her family home to attend university. Now, even though she takes antidepressants (which are commonly used to treat anxiety) she remains on edge most days.
The young student suffers from Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) which is (according to Anxiety UK) one of the most common mental health issues seen by doctors within the UK. Research published by the NHS Information Centre has shown a significant rise in outpatient appointments for GAD in the last couple of years. Some experts have put this down to the current economical climate.
As well as a feeling of heightened anxiety, symptoms of GAD include problems sleeping, irritability and heart palpitations. The condition is regularly confused with depression and the same antidepressants are often prescribed for both conditions, even though the symptoms differ.
Depression typically involves a sense of pessimism about the past, with a lack of interest in the future. Alternatively, anxiety focuses more so on the future and events that haven’t occurred yet. GAD sufferers are also more likely to present with physical symptoms such as breathlessness and heart palpitations.
Mental health charities have expressed their concern about antidepressants being used too often as the first option to treat anxiety. They would prefer other forms of therapy such as CBT be used as an alternative and for patients to be offered the choice.
Prof Peter Kinderman, head of the Institute of Psychology at the University of Liverpool agrees:
“We all differ in the way that we are anxious. But what people need is a humane approach, to help them understand and address their moods, rather than labels and medication.”
If you suffer from anxiety, hypnotherapy could help to teach you coping mechanisms and help to alter thought patterns that lead to your anxiety. For more information, please see our Anxiety page.
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