Anxiety is a physical and mental state that is totally natural for everyone to experience at different points in time. After all, it is a state with an adaptive and protective purpose. Sometimes, however, worry can take on a life of its own. But if anxiety is starting to hurt you rather than help you – if it’s difficult to control or nearly impossible with which to cope – it’s time to step back and evaluate the extent of the problem
When is anxiety a problem?
The point at which worry and anxiety become a problem is somewhat subjective, though there are several different markers of severity and intensity that you might use to evaluate how reasonable or unreasonable your level of anxiety is.
This might be hard to judge from inside the experience, but to start, trying stepping back and asking yourself questions such as:
- Is my anxiety hurting my relationships? Or my performance in school or at work?
- Am I frequently distracted by thoughts of what will go wrong in certain situations?
- Do I avoid things that I might actually enjoy because of a looming feeling of dread?
- Do I constantly feel “on edge” or “amped up,” even in the absence of a clear source of worry?
- Am I frequently blowing things out of proportion, even though it does not feel this way at the moment?
If the answers to any of these questions give you pause, or if you are finding them tough to answer, consider asking someone you trust about their perception of your anxiety and how it impacts your life.
Anxiety is a problem. Now what?
If you think your worry has gotten out of hand, an expert opinion from a DTR Cognitive Behavioural Therapist (CBT) Psychotherapist can help to further clarify this. Meeting with one of our therapists can help you to determine if your anxiety issue can be classified as a disorder, and which one.
DTR therapists will use a diagnostic criteria for anxiety disorders to determine whether or not anxiety is excessive; this typically involves an assessment using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) to determine how persistent the anxiety is, what types of symptoms you experience and for how long they last, and how intrusive it is on your ability to get through life on a day-to-day basis.
Even if your anxiety is of the low-grade variety or does not meet the threshold for a firm diagnosis that does not mean it’s not worth working on.
In fact, from a practical perspective, it’s most important to pay attention to how anxiety interferes with your life, no matter how it manifests. A DTR therapist can help you narrow down what’s wrong or identify helpful interventions, even if unable to determine a specific label for the problem.
What are some possible next steps to regain control of anxiety?
Firstly arrange a consultation with a DTR therapist and complete a clinical assessment.
Depending on the nature and extent of your anxiety, you may find one or a combination of a number of approaches useful.
Mild or intermittent anxiety may improve with the use of:
A. Self-help resources (e.g. books, Smartphone apps, online resources that walk you through a series of exercises related to your anxiety.
B. Regular use of relaxation strategies and techniques . Please see Mindfulness blog.
C. Increased daily activity or implementation of an exercise routine – Please speak to one of our Personal Training Team if you need further advice on this.
D. A number of talk therapies for moderate to severe anxiety, DTR therapists are fully trained in CBT. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is the psychotherapy of choice for our clients and has an encouraging evidence base to support its use.
E. There are also various medications that can help with the persistent anxiety of any degree.
Please contact a member of the DTR team if you require any further information or wish to make an appointment.