Tackling Anxiety Disorders

DSCN6807 I was fortunate to be asked to contribute an article to the first edition of The New Forest Messenger – Autumn 2015. It is a new magazine aimed at the over 60’s who are not online in the Waterside area of Southampton. The editor/publisher is Kathy Baker who can be contacted on messengermag@yahoo.co.uk should you wish to know more.  The first edition went down very well and I felt very privileged to contribute.

A copy of the transcript is included below.



By Susan Hayward, July 2015

We have all experienced anxiety, a dry mouth, clammy hands and heart beating loudly. Anxiety is a natural response that keeps us safe and helps solve everyday problems – before an exam, dealing with a work deadline or an important meeting. Anxiety is not a personal weakness, a character flaw and has nothing to do with a “poor” upbringing. One in four of us will have a mental health issue at some time in our life, over 90% recover and go on to lead productive, fulfilled lives.

Our ability to cope with everyday anxiety depends on our personal resilience and events happening in our life at the time. Low resilience and high-stress loads reduce our ability to cope with anxiety. Being tired and overloaded (with work, family and community responsibilities, etc) lowers our resilience.

Anxiety becomes a disorder when it takes over our lives affecting us at home, at work and socially; it is more severe and longer lasting and has an impact on our family too. Anxiety disorders are a serious mental illness in which worry and fear dominate. There are a number of anxiety disorders including generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder (panic attacks), phobias, acute stress disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and mixed anxiety and depression.

To treat anxiety disorders it is important to eliminate certain medical conditions, the side effects of certain prescription drugs and non-prescription or illegal drugs. A visit to your GP is an important starting point. Talking therapies and medication may also be appropriate. There is also a wide range of self-help therapies that can be explored to support those prescribed or recommended by the medical professional.

To learn more about mental health first aid courses please contact sue.mhfa@gmail.com


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