Everyone worries. But when worrying starts to interfere with your job, your health, or your quality of life, you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder. If you have an anxiety disorder you may be suffering from physical symptoms (such as insomnia or headaches) that may make it harder for you to function in everyday life.

Everyone is anxious some of the time. Unfortunately some people are anxious all of the time. Anxiety is part of our defence system against the dangers of the outside world. Unfortunately it becomes a disorder when the anxiety becomes so intense that the sufferer is unable to cope with it.

Anxiety disorders comes in a number of flavours. The medical profession diagnoses them by specific types:

Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD). This is characterised by the constant feeling of anxiety and worry. There is often no specific problem provoking the worry. In order to be diagnosed with GAD, the extreme worrying needs to continue for over six months. Both men and woman can develop the disorder (although statistically more woman tend to seek help for GAD).

Social anxiety disorder (social phobia). People suffering from social phobia become stressed in social situations. This can range from significant events such as speaking in public or giving speeches, to simple situations such as socialising with a few friends. These people are terrified of social situations because they fear judgement and humiliation. There is thought to be a genetic predisposition to the condition.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). People who suffer from OCD obsess about certain ideas or anxieties, like worrying about whether a door has been locked, or a fear of dirt or germs. These anxieties are relieved by obsessive behaviours, such as checking and re-checking locks on doors, and excessive hand washing.

Panic disorder. People with panic disorder experience acute occurrences of anxiety with extreme physical symptoms. Experiencing a panic attack can lead suffers to think they are having a heart attack or are going to die. The physical effects of a panic attack can include shortness of breath, palpitation, tightness of the chest, dizziness and sweating. Attacks occur without warning or cause. Panic disorder is more common in women than men.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This disorder occurs in people who have faced violent or traumatic events. They often experience flashbacks to the event, and may avoid people or situations where they may be reminded of their past. They often feel anxious and may be easily scared or surprised.

Worry, anxiety and stress are normal parts of everyday experience. But if anxiety is taking over your life, you may need help to bring it under control.

Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) has various techniques to help sufferers overcome their anxiety problems. NLP targets behaviour, words and attitudes that are having a negative effect on someone’s life, and alters negative beliefs and creates positive outcomes by using straightforward techniques.

For example, a popular NLP technique is the ‘swish pattern’. An NLP practitioner will work with a client to understand what triggers anxiety, commonly a negative self-image of the client. NLP teaches how to replace the negative anxiety self-image with a positive self-image

As NLP practitioners and hypnotherapists, LifeWith coaches can help with anxiety and phobia disorders. We offer a free and confidential introductory session to new clients.

Rob is a Personal Development Specialist, working with LifeWith Personal Coaching, a Manchester-based life coaching and personal development practise. He is a qualified life coach, NLP practitioner and hypnotherapist.

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