Anxiety, phobia, and worrying

We all experience anxiety and worry at times. It is completely natural if we feel fear in a situation that objectively threatens our life and health. However, if anxiety is intense and frequent, it may prevent our proper functioning. Commonly reported anxiety disorders are specific types of phobias (e.g. animal, blood, situation), agoraphobia, panic disorder (panic attacks), social anxiety and health anxiety (formerly called hypochondria). If we experience chronic worrying and it affects several areas of our life, it is possible that we suffer from generalized anxiety disorder.
Many people suffering from anxiety disorders experience difficult emotional (anxiety, restlessness) and physiological symptoms (tension, fatigue, body tremors, sleep problems). Fear and anxiety make us avoid difficult situations, withdraw from them, give up many activities and “protect” ourselves in various ways.
The way of thinking of people with anxiety disorders is distorted in many aspects. They overestimate the probability and size of a threat – they catastrophize. Moreover, they often underestimate their ability to deal with the anticipated situation. As a consequence, they feel a strong anxiety at the very thought of a situation that might happen and try to avoid it. Cognitive-behavioural psychotherapy works on changing the dysfunctional way of thinking and maladaptive coping strategies. The techniques that are commonly applied in treating such disorders include cognitive restructuring, behavioural experimentation and exposure.
Cognitive behavioural psychotherapy is an effective method of treating anxiety disorders. If we observe that our anxiety is excessively intense, lasts for too long, disrupts our daily functioning, generalizes some situations, and that we have catastrophic thoughts and often avoid some situations, it is worth asking a psychotherapist for help.

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