How an online psychologist can help for anxiety.
What is anxiety?
Anxiety is a normal feeling to a stressful event, and can often be helpful in short-term situations.
However, anxiety that happens regularly and affects your day to day life can cause an issue. This post will explain some different types of anxiety disorders and how to access treatment.
The difference between healthy anxiety and problem anxiety
Healthy anxiety happens occasionally when you’re in a stressful situation. It usually lasts only a short amount of time and often occurs when you’re worried about things that could cause you problems. Due to this, healthy anxiety does not affect your day-to-day life.
Anxiety becomes a problem when you feel anxious often, especially when it’s not always linked to a stressful situation. Problem anxiety can cause you to worry about things that aren’t likely to cause any problems. It can last for months and even years and has an impact on your daily life.
Generalised Anxiety Disorder
Generalised Anxiety Disorder is a common disorder and it is thought to affect up to 5% of the population in the UK. It is characterised by persistent feelings of worry and anxiety and can affect you both mentally and physically. Psychological symptoms of this disorder include feeling “on edge”, restless, having a sense of dread, and difficulty concentrating. Physical symptoms include palpitations, headaches, feeling sick, insomnia, tiredness, sweating and shortness of breath. Your symptoms may cause you to take time off from work and to withdraw from social contact.
Panic Disorder is where you experience regular panic attacks, often without warning. Symptoms include a racing heartbeat, feeling faint, difficulty breathing, chest pain, choking, and feelings of dread. You may become fearful of when these attacks will happen, causing you to change or restrict your normal activities.
Social anxiety is also called social phobia. It causes overwhelming and long-lasting fear of social situations. You may be fearful of situations in which you might feel self-conscious, embarrassed, judged or rejected. You may dread everyday activities such as talking on the phone, meeting strangers, or attending social activities. Physical symptoms include palpitations, feeling sick, sweating and panic attacks.
Obsessive-compulsive Disorder is a common mental health condition that can be distressing and significantly interfere in your daily life. You may have uncontrollable thoughts and feelings (called obsessions) along with strong routines and rituals (called compulsions). With obsessions, you may have obsessive thoughts about accidentally harming yourself and others. You may also have rituals such as repeatedly washing your hands or having to keep checking things (such as the tap is off).
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a type of anxiety disorder which is caused be distressing, frightening and stressful events. It can develop after a severe emotional or physical trauma such as a serious accident or a crime. You may experience feelings of panic, guilt and isolation and relieve the traumatic events through flashbacks and nightmares. Symptoms can severely impact your day to day life for months or years after the event.
The causes of anxiety
Anxiety happens in response to a situation in which we perceive as being dangerous or stressful. This causes a stress response in your body where your brain releases adrenaline and stress hormones. This could also send you into your natural fight or flight reaction.
Anxiety disorders happen when you regularly feel significant and disproportionate levels of worry, fear and distress in response to conscious or unconscious cues. A wide variety of factors can lead to experiencing anxiety such as:
Environmental factors: Elements in the environment can cause an increase in anxiety such as stress from relationships, work, school and finances.
Genetics: If you have family members who have an anxiety disorder then you are more likely to have one yourself.
Medical factors: Symptoms of a disease, stress from an underlying medical condition and side effects of medication can make your anxiety worse.
Brain Chemistry: Genetic factors and traumatic experiences can alter the structure and function of the brain. This can lead to stronger reactions to triggers. Many health professions define anxiety and mood disorders as a disruption to electrical signals and hormones in the brain.
Use of, or withdrawal from, an illicit substance.
Treatments for anxiety
Although there are many types of anxiety disorders, research suggests that most of them are driven by similar underlying processes. If you have an anxiety disorder you may become easily overwhelmed by emotions and have strong negative reactions to those uncomfortable feelings and situations.
Many people try and cope with their anxiety by avoiding situations and experiences that they know will make them feel anxious. However, this can backfire and feed the anxiety which makes it worse.
Online therapy for anxiety
Online therapy for anxiety, and seeing a psychologist for anxiety, is often the most effective treatment. This is because online anxiety treatment and social anxiety online therapy, unlike medication, treats more than just the symptoms of the anxiety disorder.
Anxiety counselling online can help you to uncover and work through the underlying causes of your anxiety. It can give you the tools to overcome anxiety and teaches you how to use them. This could be in learning how to relax; develop better problem-solving and coping skills; and how to look at situations and events in less frightening ways.
As there are many different types of anxiety disorders, your therapy should be tailored to you and your symptoms and diagnosis. For example, if you’re seeking social anxiety online therapy, if you suffer from panic attacks, your therapy will be different from someone who needs help with obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for anxiety
If you would like anxiety help online, then seeing a psychologist for anxiety might be the best thing for you. One of the most widely used therapies for anxiety disorders is cognitive behavioural therapy. The focus of cognitive behavioural therapy is not on external events, but instead on the way in which our thoughts affect how we feel. For example, it’s not the situation that determines how you feel, but your perception of it.
This type of therapy addresses the negative patterns and distortions in how you look at yourself and the world. Seeing a psychologist for anxiety with this type of therapy can explore how your negative thoughts contribute and build on your anxiety, along with how your behaviour and reactions can also trigger it.
A key component of cognitive behavioural therapy is thought challenging. This is where you challenge your negative thinking patterns and replace them with more positive ones which lower your anxiety. This involves working with your therapist to identify any key negative thoughts that you experience when you start feeling anxious. You then evaluate the thoughts and question the evidence of them. For example, is the thought realistic? The last step is to then replace the negative thoughts with more positive and accurate ones.
Cognitive behavioural therapy may also enable you to learn coping skills, how to recognise when you’re starting to become anxious, and how to confront your fears.
It is only natural to want to avoid any unpleasant emotions such as anxiety. One common thing that people do to try and avoid feeling anxious is to go out of their way to avoid any possible anxiety-provoking situations. For example, if you have a fear of heights, you may avoid crossing any high bridges, and so take a longer route to get to your destination. As well as being inconvenient, avoiding your fears often makes them stronger as you are feeding the fear.
What exposure therapy does is slowly expose you to objects or situations that you fear. It starts with situations that make you feel mildly anxious and goes from there. The aim of this type of therapy is to enable you to build confidence, challenge your fears, and learn how to control your panic and anxiety.
Online anxiety support groups
Online anxiety support groups are a type of peer support that connects people who have experienced similar thoughts, feelings and situations. Many people with anxiety find online help for anxiety helpful, as it allows them to connect with others who feel the same way, making them feel less alone. Many of these groups often share ideas on how to stay well and provide online help for anxiety, which you may find useful.
Online help for anxiety may take the form of groups on social media sites or communities that are solely dedicated to providing online support and are moderated by trained staff. Many people find that anxiety online chat on online support groups provides many benefits. For example, you can assess support whenever and wherever you have an internet connection and you can stay anonymous if you feel more comfortable. It is also easier to find online anxiety groups that are relevant to your experiences and needs.
Making online therapy work for you
Research has shown that seeing a psychologist for anxiety online is just as effective as traditional face-to-face therapy. Online therapy for anxiety also comes with added benefits such as there being no need to travel or to book time off from other commitments such as work. When considering social anxiety online therapy, it is normal to have some questions about how the process works and what some first steps are when you’ve decided that you want online anxiety treatment.
One of the most important steps when wanting anxiety online chat is to find a therapist that is right for you. This includes making sure that the therapist you’ve chosen for anxiety counselling online is suitably qualified and has considerable experience in the area in which you want help. One way you could do this is to get in contact with a few therapists that you’re considering and ask what qualifications they hold and what experience they currently have in the area, and then decide on one therapist who feels the best fit for you and your experiences.
It is also often more affordable to get anxiety help online than it is to attend therapy in a traditional setting. This is due to not needing to spend money on travelling or to take time off from work to attend appointments. It is also recommended to ask about fees ahead of time when deciding on a therapist that is right for you so that you can make an informed decision and get “business” out of the way first. This is so that you can give 100% focus to your therapy when getting anxiety help online.
Many people also find it much more comfortable to speak to a therapist in their own home and feel that it provides greater confidentiality. This may be because you do not have to worry about seeing people you know when you enter or leave a therapist’s office. A lot of people also report feeling less vulnerable when getting anxiety help online which can reduce feelings of anxiety around having therapy.
Getting started with Psychologyhelp
At Psychologyhelp, you can speak with a therapist online about your anxiety within 24 hours of sending your request. However, responses to completed forms on the website and initial emails are likely to be replied to faster than this.
An important first step is to find a therapist that is right for you and who you feel comfortable with. This includes making sure that the therapist is suitably licensed and qualified, with considerable experience in the area that you need help with. You can get in contact with a few therapists that you’re considering and ask them to provide you with that information so that you’re able to decide on one therapist who feels the best fit for you and your experiences.
At Psychologyhelp, we will always match you with a qualified therapist who specialises in the issue that you’re experiencing. This is so you know that you’re receiving the best therapy possible for your anxiety. We have therapists that are especially experienced in dealing with anxiety and anxiety disorders. Some of the other areas that our therapists have experience in also include: negativity and depression, stress, low self-esteem, trauma and bereavement.