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Everybody feels anxious from time-to-time – it’s a normal response to stressful situations. In some cases it can actually improve performance.

However for some people anxiety becomes severe or prolonged and interferes with their everyday life. This is called an anxiety disorder.

Anxiety is a feeling of unease. Everybody experiences it when faced with a stressful situation, for example before an exam or an interview, or during a worrying time such as illness. It’s normal to feel anxious when facing something difficult or dangerous, and mild anxiety can be a positive and useful experience.

However, for one in 10 people in the UK, anxiety interferes with normal life. Excessive anxiety is often associated with other problems, such as depression. Anxiety is considered to be a problem when it is prolonged, severe and is interfering with everyday activities.

Symptoms of Anxiety

When you’re anxious, you may also experience a range of physical symptoms. These happen because of the bodies’ so-called “fight or flight” response, which is caused by the release of the stress hormone adrenaline.
The symptoms can include:

  • abdominal discomfort / unexplained tummy pain
  • diarrhoea
  • dry mouth
  • rapid heartbeat / palpitations
  • tightness or pain in the chest / chest pains
  • shortness of breath / out of breath
  • dizziness
  • frequent urination / needing to pee all the time
  • difficulty swallowing / choking feeling
  • shaking / trembling
  • muscle tension

Psychological or Emotional symptoms can include:

  • insomnia / unable to sleep / waking too early
  • feeling worried or uneasy all the time
  • feeling tired / lacking energy
  • being irritable or quick to anger / short fuse
  • an inability to concentrate
  • a fear that you are going “mad” or Crazy
  • feeling unreal and not in control of your actions (depersonalisation), or detached from your surroundings (derealisation)
  • feeling tense

Reaction disorders

Reaction disorders are caused by some sort of stressful life event.

Here are some examples:

Acute stress reaction.

Acute means that the symptoms develop quickly, minutes or hours after the stressful event. This type of reaction typically happens after an unexpected life crisis such as bereavement. Sometimes symptoms occur before an event, such as an important exam. This is called situational anxiety. Symptoms usually settle fairly quickly and treatment may not be needed.

Adjustment reaction.

This is similar to acute stress reaction, but the symptoms develop over days or weeks after a stressful situation, for example as a reaction to a divorce. Symptoms tend to improve over a few weeks or so.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

This can happen after you experience or witness a traumatic event, such as a major accident or military combat. Anxiety, which may come and go, is only one of the symptoms. Others include recurring thoughts, memories, images, dreams, or distressing “flashbacks” of the trauma. It’s normal to react with anxiety to a frightening experience – the PTSD is only applied if symptoms persist. It may develop years after the triggering event.

There are many different types of anxiety disorders:


A phobia is a fear that is out of proportion to the real danger posed by the thing that triggers it. They interfere with your ability to lead a normal life. Common specific phobias are fear of heights, spiders, mice, blood, injections or enclosed space (claustrophobia).

Social phobia is also one of the more common, but complex, phobias. If you are affected by this type of anxiety then meeting people may cause anxiety, and you’re probably overly worried about what others think of you, or about how you appear to other people. Maybe a one-to-one meeting is fine but group situations cause you problems. It could be that you suffer severe anxiety about speaking or performing in public or any ‘on the spot’ type situation.  Perhaps answering a knock on the door or using the telephone causes a great deal of anxiety.

Of course, It’s only natural to sometimes feel a bit nervous in these situations, but people with social phobia find these activities impossible.

Agoraphobia, another common phobia, is a fear of various places and situations, such as crowds or public places, and is frequently associated with panic or anxiety attacks.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

This anxiety disorder consists of recurring obsessions and/or compulsions. Obsessions are recurring thoughts or images about specific things that trigger feelings of disgust. Common obsessions include fears around germs, dirt or violence. Compulsions are thoughts or actions that people feel they must do or repeat. A compulsion is usually a response to ease the anxiety of an obsession. For example, repeatedly washing your hands to deal with an obsession about dirt.

Panic Disorder / Anxiety Attack

Sometimes one can suffer the anticipation of anxious or ‘out of control’  feelings, this can feel like you’re living in fear of fear.
Panic attacks are very often a sudden sense of anxiety that occurs without warning and with no apparent trigger. The symptoms of the anxiety (see above) can be very severe and may feel like a wave of panic. Panic attacks can last five or 10 minutes but they can last longer.

Therapy for Stress & Anxiety

The choice of therapy to help your Social Anxiety is going to depend on just how much the problem is affecting your day-to-day life, and also how long you have been suffering from the problem.
Ruth Watson is able to offer three principle techniques for helping you to resolve your issues:

Clinical Hypnosis for Anxiety    IAEBP-Small-Logo-N-Square1

If your anxiety or stress is “relatively” minor and only affects you now and again, then you may have found that you have been able to tolerate the feelings that you have experienced. In these circumstances I would normally recommend just one or two sessions of Clinical Hypnosis (Suggestion Therapy) as this particular technique has an excellent track record in these cases.

Cognitive Processing and Integration Therapy for Anxiety

If your Anxiety issues are more significant and they are having a seriously disruptive effect on your life, then you may wish to consider a technique such as Cognitive Processing & Integration Therapy. This type of therapy can help you to re-process any past situation that may have become “blocked” in your mind leading to a more permanent resolution. Normally CPI takes place over a number of sessions.

The Mindfulness and More Programme for Anxiety

The very latest, and perhaps most effective way to deal with Anxiety is to follow a course of the Mindfulness and More Programme. This Mind Therapy technique helps you to really understand how your “beliefs” have contributed to the way that you feel and in doing so, teaches you how to take control of your thinking and really change the way you “see the world.” This approach utilises a research-backed applied course of Psychology combined with Mindfulness and has been producing excellent results.
Ruth offers both group sessions and one-to-one sessions for this programme.

Either attend clinic in person or take advantage of online sessions
Providing the benefit of therapy from the comfort of your preferred location