CBT for Anxiety Disorders

CBT is the most popular form of therapy to address a range of issues that come under the umbrella term ‘anxiety disorders’. It is NICE-recommended and recovery figures show it is most effective when practised by those with specialist training and accreditation. I am a fully-accredited CBT specialist with 25 years clinical experience of successfully treating all severities of anxiety disorders to draw upon. Get in touch to discuss how effective therapy can help you overcome this debilitating and unpleasant experience. 

We’ve all come across a dangerous or stressful situation which provoked feelings of panic, anxiety and fear in us. Anxiety is our natural and safe emotion of protection, so these feelings are completely natural albeit uncomfortable, and thankfully don’t occur to most of us that often.

However the World Health Organisation estimates that for 4% of the global population, their experiences are severe enough to be termed  an anxiety disorder.

What is an Anxiety Disorder?

Anxiety disorders are composed of thinking, physical and behavioural elements.The experience differs from person-to-person and definitely across situations, so when anxious a person’s thinking can be caught up in different ways. Some of us experience chronic worry, others fear a specific situation or obsessive thoughts that endlessly loop. This thinking is usually accompanied by physical sensations that can range from uncomfortable ‘butterflies’ in the stomach to multiple panic attack symptoms.

Usually people report a combination of:

  • Physically feeling nervous, restless or tense
  • An increased heart rate
  • Shaking
  • Racing thoughts
  • Trouble concentrating
  • A sense of impending danger or doom
  • Breathing rapidly
  • Feeling hot
  • Nausea
  • Lightheadedness

Behaviourally, avoidance of feared situations, or looking for early escape options are key indicators of anxiety disorders, and whilst these strategies are completely understandable, they make things worse in the long run.

There are other disorders where people also feel anxious, but if anxiety is your consistent or predominating emotion, then it is likely to be an anxiety disorder.

Anxiety disorders are a cluster of disorders, often related and overlapping, with defined criteria and CBT is the recommended approach to treat the following:

  • Generalised anxiety disorder: Characterised by excessive, uncontrollable and non-specific worry that can seem relentless. As soon as you deal with one worry, the next one pops up.
  • Panic disorder: A sudden feeling of intense anxiety about what is going on in your own body and a fear of your own physical sensations, which are often racing heart, tight chest, sweating and nausea.
  • Health anxiety: You are very anxious and often scared about the state of your physical health. You may find yourself checking your body frequently, Googling symptoms or making visits to your GP for reassurance.
  • Social anxiety: You have worry and self-doubt about yourself when you’re in social situations and experience anxiety in advance of events. You worry excessively about how you come across to other people and avoidance of stressful situations is common.
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder or OCD: A varied range of symptoms, can include over-checking, over-washing, a fear of your own thoughts which can be about causing harm to others or sexual acts. OCD means the person is likely to rely on compulsive acts or mental rituals as a way to feel less anxious and ‘safe’ in the world, but which provides only short-term relief.
  • Phobias: An unreasonable fear of a situation or object, commonly of animals, birds, insects, heights, enclosed spaces and the sight of blood or injury.
  • Post-traumatic stress (PTSD): Characterised by the re-experiencing of one or more traumatic events, often through flashbacks or nightmares involving fear, helplessness or horror. Can include being over-alert for ongoing threat, avoidance of triggers, emotional numbing, irritability, low mood and sleep disturbance.

If this sounds like your experience, then know that you are far from alone; anxiety is one of the most common reasons that people seek therapy. But evidence-based treatment is available and recovery figures for CBT face to face and online with an accredited expert are excellent.

Get in touch to work with me and overcome your problem. 

In the meantime, start the process and get curious about the what, whys and hows of the anxiety issue you’re facing with the list below.

Reading on CBT for anxiety generally:

Overcoming Anxiety by Helen Kennerly

Reading on CBT for specific anxiety disorders:

Overcoming Worry: Kevin Meares and Mark Freeston
Overcoming Panic Disorder: Vijaya Manicavasagar and Derrick Silove
Overcoming Health Anxiety: Rob Willson and David Veale
Overcoming Social Anxiety: Gillian Butler
Overcoming OCD: David Veale and Rob Willson
Break Free From OCD: Fiona Challacombe, Victoria Bream and Paul Salkovskis
Overcoming Phobias: Diana Sanders
Overcoming Traumatic Stress: Claudia Herbert

Listening on CBT for anxiety