“The natural healing force within each of us is the greatest force in getting well.”

Anxiety can affect us all, but when it becomes constant, more intense, and starts interfering with day-to-day life, you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder. Natural therapies and counselling can help you regain control of your life and wellbeing.

Anxiety is a feeling of fear, worry and panic. It can also be used to describe a challenging or stressful but “non-dangerous event” for example, an exam, public speaking, a new career or even a date. It is a natural response to a real or perceived fear. It becomes a disorder when the fear becomes persistent and has a negative impact on your life, such as your ability to eat, sleep, concentrate, travel, enjoy life or even leave the house to go to work or school. If this sounds like you, you don’t have to suffer in silence. We can help.

There are different types of anxiety , but the most common are:

Generalised anxiety (GAD)—involves feeling anxious about many things rather than any one specific thing. These worries are often difficult to control.

As soon as one anxious thought is resolved, another appears. The following symptoms are typical: restless, fatigue, irritability, muscle tension or sleep disturbances. These feelings are often related to everyday tasks, like stress at home or work, but there may not always be a clear cause.

GAD is common, estimated to affect up to 5% of the UK population. More women are affected than men, and the condition is more common between the ages of 35 to 59.

Phobias—are an overwhelming fear of place, situation, feeling, or animal. Close contact with or thoughts of the feared situation causes anxiety.

Panic—symptoms include shortness of breath, feeling faint and trembling.

Compulsive thoughts and behaviours are obsessional thoughts or images followed by urges. The behaviours that follow the distressing thoughts are typically a response to ease the anxiety of an obsession.

Post-traumatic stressis often experienced after witnessing a traumatic event. Flashbacks and nightmares are common. These reactions can make you feel like you’re reliving the event, fear or anxiety repeatedly.

Anxiety is a problem that can get worse if the stress continues to build up. People may feel ashamed to ask for help or may believe it’s not that big a problem and try to deal with it alone. If you are experiencing symptoms, we can help.

Anxiety is emotional and physical. It can prompt the ‘fight or flight’ response which triggers our nervous system. This generates a boost of adrenaline, increasing heart rate and oxygen going to our limbs so we're able to respond to perceived danger. Feeling butterflies in the stomach can indicate this mechanism is kicking in.

Anxiety can sabotage your ability to act, express yourself, and deal with everyday situations. You may feel apprehension, nervousness, and a deep sense of unease.

Common physical symptoms:

  • Increased heart rate, hot flushes, excessive sweating, dry mouth
  • “Jelly legs”, tingling in the hands and feet, increased muscle tension, shaking, feeling sick
  • Breathing issues – hyperventilation (over breathing), dizziness or struggling to catch your breath
  • Problems sleeping
  • Wanting to use the toilet frequently
  • Tight band across the chest area, tension headaches

Common thoughts and feelings:

  • That you may lose control and/or go “mad”
  • That you may have a heart attack/be sick/faint/have a brain tumour
  • Increased worry before sleep or during the night
  • That people are looking at you and observing your anxiety
  • Detachment from your environment and the people in it, wanting to escape from the situation
  • On edge and alert to everything around you

Common behavioural symptoms:

Avoidance—although avoiding an anxiety provoking situation produces immediate relief from the anxiety, it's a short-term solution. If you always avoid, you never find out whether your fear about the situation and what would happen is accurate.

Isolation—as overwhelm increases, withdrawal tends to happen. It can be hard to put on a front or engage in ordinary social situations, particularly when we cannot be authentic.

Adapt lifestyle—to mask, numb or adapt to anxiety some people consume more alcohol, drugs and comfort foods.

Anxiety disorders can be attributed to a number of factors:

  • Genetics
  • Personality traits (e.g. perfectionists, low self-esteem, wanting to control everything, rejection, isolation)
  • Chemical imbalance in the brain (e.g. low serotonin levels can be genetic and heighten noradrenaline which can put you on edge)
  • Environmental (e.g. stress from being overworked, getting divorced, financial, death, pregnancy, motherhood)
  • Substance abuse
  • Medical factors (e.g. side effects of medicine and long term health conditions)
  • Traumatic experiences
  • Substances that aggravate anxiety include caffeine, nicotine, stimulant drugs, salt, preservatives, hormones in meat, and simple sugars.
  • Diet and poor eating habits (e.g. food allergies and intolerances; nutritional deficiencies; missing meals so blood sugar drops; diet high in sugar, fried food, low in vegetables)
  • Gut dysbiosis – leading to painful digestive symptoms and a direct link between the gut and the brain, causing mood issues)

The two most common forms of treatment offered for anxiety are counselling and medication.

Antidepressants can ease anxiety symptoms and help sufferers to function however, they don't tackle the root cause and are not effective for everybody.

Medication. If you are considering medication, we suggest you discuss your symptoms and any other conditions as well as different treatment options in detail before you start. This should include different types of medication, length of treatment, side effects, and possible interactions with other medicines.

The main medications you may be offered are often selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) which work by increasing the level of a chemical “serotonin” in your brain. There are many common side effects of SSRIs particularly in the first two weeks: feeling agitated or sick, indigestion, diarrhoea or constipation, loss of appetite and weight loss, dizziness, dry mouth, excessive sweating, headaches, problems sleeping, drowsiness and a low sex drive.

These side effects usually settle as your body adjusts to the medication, although some can persist. We recommend you have regular appointments to assess your progress, any side effects and later on a plan for slowly reducing the dose over the course of a few weeks to reduce the risk of withdrawal effects.

IMI offers a holistic approach to anxiety.

We integrate counselling psychology, naturopathic remedies and suggest lifestyle changes to support you emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually.

We focus on your whole self - body and mind - to help you rationalise your fear and manage anxiety.

Our practitioners may suggest lifestyle changes and ways to make stressful environments feel safe. Exercise is also important; breathing exercises, relaxation techniques, meditation, and good nutritional habits are effective in treating anxiety.

We can identify any nutritional or bacterial imbalances which may be contributing to feelings of stress.

Counselling and psychotherapy is an effective treatment. You work with a trained therapist to figure out ways to reduce the impact of your anxiety.

An experienced counsellor can identify the nature, form, and complexity of your anxiety. Therapy is a key factor in understanding the source of your anxiety.

Your counsellor will explore your symptoms with you and help you uncover the underlying issues that have contributed. Therapy can support you to gain new strengths, deeper insights and gain a fresh trust.

There are many counselling and psychotherapy approaches available and research suggests no therapeutic approach is superior. A core aspect of counselling approaches is for the counsellor to create a safe, trusting, empathic and attuned relationship and a productive environment in which to support you.

Skilled hands on treatment such as osteopathy, craniosacral therapy and acupuncture are excellent ways to support the nervous system and promote relaxation.

Self-help. We would also seek to support you by helping identify and develop self-help activities and habits to better understand and reduce the impact of your anxiety and increase your self-esteem.

What’s next?

If you need help to overcome anxiety we can help.

If you're ready to start talking, our team of psychotherapists and counsellors are here to listen and support you. Connect with us below, and we'll be in touch shortly.

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