To contact Debbie, please click on the email link at the top of the page.

Anxiety is part of normal human experience.  We all know what it feels like to be anxious and it can be a beneficial experience as it can help us prepare for something like a test or an interview, or to take more care than we otherwise might.  Yet for some people these moments of anxiety aren’t isolated and are rarely like they are for most people.  Instead, anxiety is a constant and dominating force that severely disrupts the quality and enjoyment of their lives and goes far beyond mere occasional ‘nervousness’.

Anxiety is an uncomfortable or even unpleasant feeling of worry, unease, apprehension or nervousness, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain future.  Anxiety is a natural emotional reaction triggered in expectation of a vague or unknown threat.

On a physical level, anxiety is linked to the fight or flight response system and whilst we don’t have the same threats or predators humans had long age, today our worries and concerns can be about money, health, work, relationships or situations.  Anxiety disorders are formed when increased fear and anxiety cause our habits and behaviours to be disrupted and the term ‘Anxiety Disorders’ covers a number of anxiety related issues such as:

Generalised Anxiety DisorderPanic DisorderPhobiaSocial Anxiety Disorder
Obsessive Compulsive DisorderPost Traumatic Stress DisorderSeparation Anxiety Disorder

Generalised Anxiety Disorder

Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is chronic and exaggerated worry and tension, even though nothing seems to provoke it.  It means always anticipating disaster, failure and worrying excessively.  Sometimes the source of the worry can be hard to pinpoint and simply the thought of getting through the day can provoke anxiety.   

To contact Debbie, please click on the email link at the top of the page.

Panic Disorder

Panic Disorder is a type of anxiety characterised by brief or sudden attacks of intense terror and apprehension that leads to shaking, confusion, dizziness, nausea and difficulty breathing.

Panic can be very alarming and the onset is rapid, which is why it is called an ‘attack’.  In this state a person will often breathe very quickly or hyperventilate.  Remember: one of the ways the body prepares itself for fight or flight is by breathing rapidly so it has a good oxygen supply.  Unfortunately, overdo it and it produces even more distressing physical symptoms such as dizziness, tingling beneath the skin, muscle pain(s), ringing in the ears and/or a sense of things not being real.

To contact Debbie, please click on the email link at the top of the page.

Phobia

A phobia is an irrational or excessive fear of an object or of a situation and can have a major impact on a person’s life.  A phobia is different from Generalised Anxiety Disorder because a phobia has a fear response identified with a specific cause.  The fear may be acknowledged as irrational or unnecessary yet the person is still unable to control the anxiety  that results.

Fears are common.  They become a phobia when the fear is out of proportion – when the fear is inappropriately intense.  Fears can also become a problem when they lead to avoidance, which can then spoil a person’s quality of life.

However, it’s important to realise that not all intense fears are inappropriate and some can be healthy.  For example, a fear of being burned by fire, fear of aggressive looking dogs, etc. are vital to our survival. 

To contact Debbie, please click on the email link at the top of the page.

Social Anxiety Disorder

Social Anxiety Disorder is a type of social phobia characterised by a fear of being negatively judged by others or a fear of public embarrassment due to impulsive actions.

This includes feelings such as stage fright, a fear of intimacy and a fear of humiliation.  This disorder can cause some to avoid public situations and human contact to the point that normal life is rendered impossible.

Much more than just shyness, Social Anxiety Disorder can cause intense, overwhelming fear over what may be for many, an everyday activity like shopping or speaking on the telephone.  People affected by it may fear doing or saying something they think will be humiliating.

To contact Debbie, please click on the email link at the top of the page.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder characterised by thoughts or actions that are repetitive, distressing and intrusive.  Those that suffer from OCD know that their compulsions are unreasonable or irrational but they serve to alleviate their anxiety.  Often the logic of a person suffering with OCD will appear superstitious (such as an insistence in walking in a certain pattern like not stepping on broken paving stones, etc).  People suffering with OCD may obsessively clean personal items, or their hands, or constantly check locks, the cooker hob, electricity sockets or light switches.

Many ‘healthy’ people can identify with some of the symptoms of OCD, such as checking the front door, or the car door after they’ve locked it, but this only becomes OCD when such activities consume at least one hour a day, are distressing and interfere with daily life.  

To contact Debbie, please click on the email link at the top of the page.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is anxiety that results from previous trauma such as military combat, rape, hostage situations, serious accidents, acts of terrorism, etc.  PTSD often leads to flashbacks and behaviour changes in order to avoid certain stimuli.

PTSD can be experienced immediately after a person experiences a disturbing event, or it can occur weeks, months or even years later.

PTSD can develop in any situation where a person feels extreme fear, horror or helplessness.  This can be the result of war, natural disasters and physical threats to oneself (or others that we are emotionally attached to), and human made disasters.  However, PTSD doesn’t usually develop after situations that are upsetting (such as diverse, job loss or failing exams).

To contact Debbie, please click on the email link at the top of the page.

Separation Anxiety Disorder

Separation Anxiety Disorder is characterised by high levels of anxiety when separated from a person or a place that provides feelings of security or safety.

Sometimes separation results in panic an it is considered a disorder when the response is excessive or inappropriate.

To contact Debbie, please click on the email link at the top of the page.

Stress

Stress is a physical, emotional or mental pressure that is experienced when a person believes that they can’t cope effectively with a threatening situation.

Stress is an everyday fact of life – it can’t be avoided.  It results from any change a person must adapt to, ranging from the negative extreme of actual physical danger to the exhilaration of achieving a long desired success.  In between these two extremes, day-to-day living confronts even the most well managed life with a continuous stream of potentially stressful experiences.

However, not all stress is bad.  Whether the stress a person experiences is the result of major life changes or the cumulative effect of minor everyday hassles, it’s how the person responds to these events that determines the impact that stress will have on their life.

It’s not just chronic long term stress that sends us over the edge, excessive stress will do this too.  Excessive stress can be caused by external circumstances (for example, sitting a lot of exams in a relatively short space of time, or if a lot depends on the outcome of the exam), or by internal triggers (such as health fears exaggerating our worries about illnesses).  So, the student that is exhausted and nervous sitting an exam might become so worried that his or her mind goes blank, or the nervous musician might be so worried about his or her performance that their hands shake and they can’t play their instrument.  In these instances the stress response is no longer working for the person, but has started to work against them.

Stress can manifest in a number of ways:

  • There will be a trigger to the person’s reaction that is easily identifiable.  This may be speaking in public, going to the doctor or the dentist, socialising or dealing with people in authority.  This is probably the easiest form of stress to deal with.
  • There will be no trigger as the symptoms are evident all of the time.  This will manifest in low self-esteem, feelings of inadequacy and/or failure.  These individuals will need assistance with self-esteem, as well as dealing with the underlying stress.
  • The last set of symptoms will be related to deeper issues and include phobic responses, psychosexual difficulties, IBS, panic disorder, depression and insomnia amongst others.

Much of the treatment for stress that incorporates hypnosis will revolve around helping the client to learn to relax and also to learn some techniques that will assist them to deal with the physical symptoms of the condition.

To contact Debbie, please click on the email link at the top of the page.

Depression

Depression can often accompany anxiety disorders.  The feelings of sadness, apathy or hopelessness, changes in appetite or sleep and difficulty concentrating that often characterise depression can all be effectively treated with therapy.

Depression is more than simply feeling unhappy or fed up for a few days.  Many people go through periods of feeling down, but when a person has depression, they feel persistently sad for weeks or months, rather than just for a few days.

Depression isn’t a sign of weakness or something that a person can snap out of by pulling themselves together.   It affects people in different ways and can cause a wide variety of symptoms, which can range from lasting feelings of unhappiness and hopelessness, to losing interest in the things they used to enjoy and feeling very tearful.  There can also be physical symptoms as well, such as feeling constantly tired, sleeping badly, having no appetite or sex drive and various aches and pains.

The symptoms of depression range from mild to severe.  At its mildest, a person may simply feel persistently low in mood, while severe depression can make them that life is no longer worth living.  

To contact Debbie, please click on the email link at the top of the page.